Chinese Water Deer
Small deer with sandy brown coat in summer, paler in winter with rump same colour and a stumpy tail. No antlers but males have long curved tusks (upper canine teeth) protruding past the lip.
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Chinese Water Deer have small footprints, only muntjac have smaller prints. Width 3-4cm, length 4-5cm.
However, be very careful not confuse these with sheep or goat footprints.
Deer droppings do not have obvious coloration or smell. The droppings tend to be of a similar shape across all species.
The Chinese water deer has a dark rump, but most importantly, only a very small stumpy tail.
Present in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. A few other sightings across mainland UK. (Maps are based on expert advice, as of 2007. Some species ranges may have changed in the time since. We are currently in the process of updating them.)
Selective feeder on tender parts of a range of grasses, sedges, herbs and woody species. Will feed on crops, but often found to be eating weeds rather than the crop plants.
Up to 6 years in the wild.
Muntjac deer (Muntiacus reevesi)
Tail held vertical when alarmed to show white underside, chinese water deer does not do this. Male has short single spike antlers pointing backwards, non-existent in chinese water deer. Males also have ‘tusks’ (upper canine teeth) protruding about 2cm below lip. These are much smaller than the chinese water deer’s tusks, which reach around 7cm below the lip. Muntjac has two vertical stripes down the face, on the inside of each eye. It is often said that chinese water deer face looks like a teddy bear.
Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Cream/white rump (oval shaped in males and upside down heart shape in females), with no visible tail. Chinese water deer rump is same colour as rest of coat and has a stumpy tail. Roe does not have any tusks (protruding upper canine teeth) whilst chinese water deer does. Roe has small pointed antlers, with no more than 3 points. Chinese water deer has no antlers. Roe has distinctive black nose and white chin. It is often said that chinese water deer face looks like a teddy bear.