Sika Deer – (Cervus nippon)
Medium-sized deer. Usually has distinctive ‘furrowed brow’ look. Nearly always seen moving together in herds. Similar spotted coat to fallow deer in summer, usually thicker dark grey-brown in winter. Short tail with black stripe down it and prominent white rump with black margins. Males have rounded antlers.
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Footprints: Sika footprints are very similar to those of other deer species, particularly fallow deer. Width 5cm, length 8cm. Be very careful not confuse these with sheep or goat footprints.
Droppings: Deer droppings do not have obvious coloration or smell. The droppings tend to be of a similar shape across all species. Sika droppings tend to be very similar to fallow droppings. They can also easily be confused with sheep droppings.
Tail: The best way to determine which deer species you have seen is by looking at the rump and tail. Sika deer have heart shaped white markings with black upper border on the rump with a white tail.
Fallow deer (Dama dama)
Both fallow and sika have a white heart-shaped rump; fallow then has a black horseshoe-shaped border, whilst sika has a black border on the top only. Comparatively longer tail than sika. Upper part of mature male antlers are palmate (broad and flattened) in fallow, which is not the case in sika. Coat colour of fallow can vary greatly but typically brown with white spots in summer and lighter brown with white spots in winter. Sika only has spots in summer.
Red deer (Cervus elaphus)
Buff coloured rump with no border, whereas sika has a black border on the top of its white heart-shaped rump. Red deer has a ginger buff tail, sika has a white tail with a thin vertical black streak. Red deer has a grey/brown coat in winter, red/brown in summer, no spots. Sika has spots in summer. Red deer is larger than sika and has larger antlers.
Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Cream/white rump (oval shaped in males and upside down heart shape in females) can be flared when alarmed. No visible tail. Sika has a heart-shaped white rump with black upper border, with a white tail that has a thin black vertical streak. Red/brown colour in summer, grey/brown in winter and no spots. Sika has spots in summer and is larger than roe. Roe has distinctive black nose and white chin. Small antlers in mature roe males, typically with no more than 3 points, unlike the larger antlers of sika, with usually more than 4 points.