bobthebirder's picture

Stag Sika

Observed: 21st November 2009 By: bobthebirderbobthebirder’s reputation in Mammalsbobthebirder’s reputation in Mammalsbobthebirder’s reputation in Mammals
sika
Description:

Found on the iSpot Waders & Wildfowl Workshop at Arne RSPB reserve in Dorset. Digiscoped photo.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

the naturalist man's picture

Sika

This is a young male sika deer. The large, bulky body with heavy neck indicates sika or red deer. The antlers of sika can grow as large as a red's but never have more than four points per antler (eight pointer). This one has three indicating a young animal, probably 2 years old. The black line down the back suggests sika though some red deer can also have a black line but it is never as distinct as this one.

The key identification feature in this photo is the first point on the antler points skyward. In sika the angle between the first point and the main stem is always much less than 90 degrees, in red deer this angle is greater causing the point to point forward, along the muzzle.

I remember when I worked at Arne, some 20 years ago, there was a large herd of Sika. There was a hide, overlooking the harbour as I recall, where, if you sat in it at dusk around a dozen sika would walk under the window, close enough to touch.

Finally, this animal is in winter pellage. In summer it will have spots similar to a fallow deer, see:

http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/2551

Graham Banwell

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