Sunday, April 25, 2010

Something Lurking in the Undergrowth

We thought at first that this was a large dog, lurking in the undergrowth at Holkham NNR in Norfolk, until be realised that we were looking at a muntjac. They are so small that they can easily conceal themselves in a patch of brambles.
These miniature deer, first introduced at Woburn from China in 1901, have spread rapidly throughout much of England over the last three decades and are now well established as far north as Yorkshire, with small populations in Scotland. They can have a devastating effect on the ground flora of woodlands, grazing the flower buds of bluebells, orchids and most other woodland wild flowers, including rarities like the oxlip. There's an interesting article on the ecological effect of the deer population explosion of native and introduced deer in the April 2010 issue of the excellent British Wildlife magazine.

8 comments:

  1. These little deer seem to be everywhere Phil.
    They're certainly getting a bad press at the moment.

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  2. Destructive or not I bet you were a Happy Camper.

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  3. I have seen dead ones (road kills) around East Anglia when I've been visiting there, where I think they are regarded as something of a pest. I would like to get a closer look of a living example one day though.

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  4. They seem to have spread very rapidly over the last few years, keith

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  5. Indeed I was Adrian, most encounters I have with deer are just a distant sight of a bobbing raise and a few footprints left in the mud...

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  6. Thanks John, it didn't seem to be in much of a hurry to get away

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  7. Hi Emma, I have heard a lot of reports of people finding the,m in their gardens in southern England..

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