Tuesday 19 October 2010

Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)

This doe Roe deer was feeding on the Gruinart flats last weekend.  Roe have delayed gestation for some reason, the fertilized embryo being dormant after mating in August until it starts development in January - birth being five months after that.  It is unclear why, although it may be a way of avoiding giving birth during the winter.  In that case, why not have the rut in the winter instead?  You would think it would be a good way of keeping warm... 
Mortality among Roe fawns is very high, both from birth and through the first winter.  If the youngster survives that first year then they have a reasonable chance of attaining a good age.  Roe deer can live to around 16 years old.

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