Wednesday, 17 July 2013

New Kids on the Block

During May female roe deer (does) seek out a quiet spot in which to give birth.  The young (kids), usually twins, are left hidden in thick cover for the first few weeks of life although the mother is usually not too far away and visits at regular intervals to attend to and suckle them.  Vulnerable at this age they have adapted to remain hidden from predators such as foxes by having virtually no scent and freezing motionless when one approaches relying on their spotted and dappled fur to remain hidden from sight. 

Young kids when alarmed drop on the spot and remain motionless

Close-up of above - note tongue sticking out

Occasionally a doe will choose to give birth in a hay meadow in which although the long grass gives plenty of cover it dosn't exactly provide good camouflage as seen in the picture below. An added danger is that the birthing period usually coincides with hay cutting time and many kids are killed during the process.

Kid 'hiding' in hay meadow

By now kids are growing stronger and are able to move around with the doe although they may still be left unattended for periods and can often be seen wandering and feeding alone.  As you walk around Gibside's woodland walks keep your eyes open and you may be lucky to spot some. 

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