Exotic Wildlife Association, Exotics

10 Facts About the Fallow Deer

Why give an introduction to the fallow deer when we can go ahead and get started on a great top 10 list?

Here we go!

  1. These deer are mostly from the Mediterranean regions of southern Europe. But, because of hundreds of years of transporting and selling, their exact origins are unknown. Because of this transportation, they are also the most widespread exotic deer worldwide.
  2. Fallow deer have a very pronounced Adam’s apple. Not sure what kind of deer you’re looking at? If you can spot an Adam’s apple, it’s probably a fallow deer!
  3. There are three color variations of fallow; white, tan with white spots, and brownish in color almost to the point of being black. You’ll often see spots on a light brown coat, but coloration is highly varied. Up to 14 variations occur from white through shades of red brown to dark brown and some adults retain their original spotted markings. Whatever color they are born will be the color they retain for life.

    Fallow Deer
    Photo by :: Carly Brasseux
  4. Fallow bucks have palmated antlers.
  5. Fallow deer have a decent sense of smell and hearing, but very good vision. They have six types of vocalizations: barking, which is an explosive alarm call used by females; bleating, which is produced by females during parturition or with their young; mewing, given by any deer during submission postures; peeping, produced by fawns in distress or contacting their mothers; wailing, an intense distress sound by a fawn older than 2 days; and growling, produced by rutting males.
  6. Fallow deer are sociable and compatible with other species, except for the rutting males.
  7. If you are thinking about owning fallow deer, you should know they are prone to fight across fences during rutting, thus sometimes ripping holes in fencing. They also wander off easily if they get loose. Frequent calling during the rut by both adult and young males can make a lot of noise.
  8. One of the most interesting things about the fallow deer is its history with George Washington! He was one of the earliest exotic raisers in the U.S. and purchased his first “English deer,” which is assumed to have been a fallow deer. Fun fact, fallow deer still exist on the historical George Washington property at Mount Vernon.
  9. There is the European fallow, mostly described above, but also a Persian or Mesopotamian Fallow. Some taxonomers consider Persian or Mesopotamian Fallow as a subspecies of the European fallow, while others think they are totally different species.
  10. Did you know that bucks do not eat during the rutting season? Weird, right?

Written by Carly Brasseux.