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Roe and Fallow Deer

  • Roe and Fallow Deer

    Tuscany is home to both the small roe and larger fallow deer. The shy roe deer tends to hide in the forests, although cultivated crops can tempt it out to feed. In contrast, you’ll spot herds of the bolder fallow deer on open arable land. Both types are majestic creatures and watching them roaming free in the Tuscan countryside – running, jumping and swimming – is a truly memorable experience. Dusk is when deer venture out, making it the best time to view and photograph them.

    The roe deer, known as the 'capriolo' in Italian, weighs around 35kg and it can be identified by its small tail, which is only 2cm-3cm in length. As the seasons change in Tuscany, its coat turns from red-brown to thick grey by the winter months. The bucks shed their antlers in November, and these regrow to their full length by May.

    The fallow deer's Italian name is 'daino', and it weighs about 85kg. It has a distinctive long neck and slim head and a unique set of antlers – a close look reveals tiny spades on the end to help lift objects from the ground. These antlers are shed by May and re-grow during summer. The fallow deer’s coat is often spotted and comes in a variety of beautiful shades of brown.

    Although both types of deer prefer to turn out at dusk, you are still likely to see females during daylight hours because their instinct is to protect their young at night. For the very best chance of spotting these graceful animals, look for a location that is rich in blueberries and mushrooms – ideal grazing for deer.

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