Roe Deer

Capreolus capreolus

Photo credit: Britannica


Body Length: 0.9-1.3m

Height: 60-75cm at shoulder

Weight: 10-30kg

Average life span: 7 years

Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. This sets out when, where, how and by whom deer can be taken or killed, and the dates of the open and closed seasons – during which the killing of deer is either permitted or prohibited respectively

When to see

January to December


Roe deer live in areas of mixed countryside. Favoured habitats include woodland, grassland, heathland and farmland. They eat buds and leaves from small trees and shrubs, ferns, heathers and grasses. They form small loose groupings in winter but tend to be more solitary in the summer.

Bucks (males) begin growing their antlers in November, and shed the velvet that covers them as they grow in spring. In the summer they are ready for the rut, which is the breeding season for deer species. Bucks become more aggressive and territorial around does (females), and will fight over does with the winner taking over territory or mating rights. These fights can lead to serious injury or death.

How to Identify

Roe deer are slender, medium-sized deer. They are mostly brown in colour, although they turn redder in the summer and slightly darker and greyer in the winter. Roe deer have a pale patch around the rump that you will often see flashing as they are bounding away from you.

Roe deer have large ears and black mouths, noses and eyes surrounded by a small amount of white. Bucks (males) have small antlers that, when fully grown, have three points.

Deer by your Local River

Roe deer are most active at dawn and dusk. Have you spotted deer by your local river? We want to hear from you! Send your photos or stories to us at riverlife@forthriverstrust.org or at facebook.com/ForthRiversTrust