A young Red Deer stag selecting a tasty branch for breakfast.
This was shot at dawn in Richmond Park, Surrey.
Red Deer - Cervus elaphus
Shoulder height 115-120cm
An imposing animal and Britain's largest native land mammal. Male (stag) is larger than female (hind) and has well developed, branching antlers. These are shed each February, reappear in the spring and become larger with each successive season. Summer coat is reddish brown but appears more grey-brown in winter. Lives in separate sex herds for much of year and spends much of daytime resting or wallowing in mud. Most active from dusk to dawn. Annual autumn rut accompanied by roaring, bellowing sounds from stags. Restricted to wild terrain in S Scotland and Highlands, Lake District, SW England and Ireland.