Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fallow Deer

The fallow deer is a deer I've always associated with petting zoos and small amusement parks. It is hard for me to associate them with being wild. 
Fallow deer
According to the IUCN Red List, it appears that the fallow deer originated in Turkey, southern Italy, Sicily and the southern Balkan peninsula (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Slovenia). Other populations were introduced: to the western Mediterranean by the Phoenicians, to central and northern Europe by the Romans and Normans, and in modern times by many introductions from various sources. Most of the European animals are descended from domestic stock and the color varieties are considered to be a result of domestication. The only animals in Europe not considered to be from domestic stock are those on the Island of Rhodes and in the Duzlercami Game Reserve in Termessos National Park in southern Turkey, both of which are genetically distinct. Their current distribution in Europe is very patchy and most of the populations are fenced and not truly free-ranging. In modern times they have been introduced to countries worldwide, including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay. 

We saw a number of fallow deer at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas, but I had a hard time getting too excited about them when we were also seeing exotic African wildlife. Their are four main variants of coat color in the fallow deer. The common color is a chestnut coat with white mottles. The leucistic (not albino) is pure white in adults (fawns are cream-colored) with dark eyes and nose and no spots. 
A leucistic fallow deer.
The melanistic is all-black to a grayish-brown. 
A melanistic fallow deer eating out of Judy's hand. 
And the menil has more distinct spots than the common and no black around the rump or on the tail. 


  1. Definitely a Bambi deer. I love these spotted deer.

  2. Interesting that the leucistic variety isn't albino. Other than the polar bear, you don't see many wild animals that color.