Fallow-deer - Encyclopedia




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FALLOW-DEER (that is, DUN Deer, in contradistinction to the red deer, Cervus [Dama] dama), a medium-sized representative of the family Cervidae, characterized by its expanded or palmated antlers, which generally have no bez-tine, rather long tail (black above and white below), and a coat spotted with white in summer but uniformly coloured in winter. The shoulder height is about 3 ft. The species is semi-domesticated in British parks, and occurs wild in western Asia, North Africa, the south of Europe and Sardinia. In prehistoric times it occurred throughout northern and central Europe. One park-breed has no spots. Bucks and does live apart except during the pairingseason; and the doe produces one or two, and sometimes three fawns at a birth. These deer are particularly fond of horsechestnuts, which the stags are said to endeavour to procure by striking at the branches with their antlers. The Persian fallowdeer (C. [D.] mesopotamicus), a native of the mountains of Luristan, is larger than the typical species, and has a brighter coat, differing in some details of colouring. The antlers have the trez-tine near the small brow-tine, and the palmation beginning near the former. Here may be mentioned the gigantic fossil deer commonly known as the Irish elk, which is perhaps a giant type of fallow-deer, and if so should be known as Cervus (Dama) giganteus. If a distinct type, its title should be C. (Megaceros) giganteus. This deer inhabited Ireland, Great Britain, central and northern Europe, and western Asia in Pleistocene and prehistoric times; and must have stood 6 ft. high at the shoulder. The antlers are greatly palmated and of enormous size, fine specimens measuring as much as 11 ft. between the tips.

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