European Roe deer

(Capreolus capreolus)


European Roe deer IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The European Roe deer is a small deer species. Adults reach a head-body length of 1 to 1.4 m and a weight of 15 to 35 kg. Females weigh 10 to 15 % less than males.

Their fur is red-brown in summer and grey-brown or dark-brown in winter, with lighter undersides and a white rump patch.

The reproduction of the roe deer is characterized by a delayed implantation of the fertilized egg resulting in a pregancy period of about nine months. The adult males become territorial in April, defending a territory of about 30 ha, females become territorial before giving birth. The fawns, usually twins, are born in May or early June and have a red-brown fur with white spots on the back and flanks. The rut takes place in July and August. Unlike in many other deer species, the buck usually escorts only one female, chasing her in circles , leaving a track in meadows or cereal fields referred to as "witch circles".

Only males have short antlers which are shed in October or November. In the Western Palearctic the antlers have seldom more than three tines, in Siberian deer four tines are not unusual.

Did you know?
that most deer cast and re-grow their antlers in the spring, when food is plentiful, the exception being the Roe deer, which cast and re-grow their antlers during the winter?


Name (Scientific) Capreolus capreolus
Name (English) European Roe deer
Name (French) Chevreuil
Name (German) Reh
Name (Spanish) Corzo
Local names Croatian: Srna
Czech: Srnec obecný
Danish: Rådyr
Dutch: Ree
Estonian: Metskits
Finnish: Metsäkauris
Hungarian: Öz
Italian: Capriolo
Lithuanian: Stirna
Norwegian: Rådyr
Polish: Sarna
Portuguese: Corço
Romansh: Chavriel
Swedish: Rådjur
Turkish: Karaca
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Europa and Western Europe. Within Europe, the European Roe deer occurs in most areas, with the exception of northern Scandinavia and some of the islands, notably Iceland, Ireland, and the Mediterranean Sea islands. The Siberian Roe Deer (Capreolus pygargus) which is a sperarate species, is found from the Ural Mountains to as far east as China and Siberia. The two species meet at the Caucasus Mountains.
Habitat The European Roe deer is capable of adapting to a wide variety of habitats, but is commonly found in woodland and forests with open spaces for feeding.
Wild population Due to forest clearance and over-hunting European Roe deer populations have suffered a steady decline from the French Revolution to the beginning of the 20th Century, becoming increasingly scarce or even extinct in certain areas. Suitable legislation, improved population management and other conservation measures resulted in an increase in number and it is now common and widespread again in most of its former range. In Germany alone, the annual bag of hunters exceeds 1 million animals, and close to 200'000 are killed by traffic accidents every year.
Zoo population 78 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

European Roe deer


How this animal should be transported

As appropriate, hard antlers should be removed before transport under proper restraint and, where required, sedation. No deer with antlers in velvet at a stage of growth which could be damaged easily should be transported where there is a risk of injury.

For air transport, Container Note 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations, should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Marek Szczepanek

Why do zoos keep this animal

The roe deer is a very common species in most of its range, however, due to disturbance by joggers, people walking their dogs etc., it has become largely nocturnal in the more densely populated areas of Europe. Displaying roe deer at the European zoos or wildlife parks is therefore of major educational interest.

Roe deer have also become very popular with children because of the novel "Bambi" by the Austrian author and hunter Felix Salten.

Roe deer are also frequently kept for animal welfare reasons as orphaned or injured fawns may be accepted by many zoos. Tame bucks will become extremely aggressive, however, and it is not recommended to hand-rear male fawns.