Siberian Roe Deer

Siberian Roe Deer

Eastern roe deer

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Subfamily
Genus
SPECIES
Capreolus pygargus
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
8-18 yrs
WEIGHT
59 kg
LENGTH
up to 146 cm

The Siberian roe deer is a medium-sized deer well-adapted to severe weather extremes of northeastern Asia. It has a long neck, large ears, and large antlers. In winter the northern populations exhibit light gray coloring, but their southern counterparts are grayish brown and ochraceous. The belly is creamy and the caudal patch is white. In the summer, their coloring is reddish. Young have a spotted coat. Males are larger than females and have three-tined antlers, widely spaced and slanting upward, which are shed in the autumn or early winter and begin to regrow shortly thereafter.

Distribution

Siberian roe deer are found in Siberia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, the Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan, eastern Tibet, the Korean Peninsula, and northeastern China (Manchuria). They live in forest and steppe habitats, preferring tall-grass meadows and floodplains.

Siberian Roe Deer habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Siberian roe deer are shy animals and are most active at night. In summer they are typically solitary but during the winter they form mixed herds that may contain up to 20-30 individuals. Some Siberian roe deer perform mass migrations during which they may gather in herds of up to 500 individuals. Closer to rutting season, males become territorial and mark their territory with scents; they use secretion glands on the head skin, which they rub against trees, shrubs, and high grasses. They may also mark their territory with visual marks, by fraying trees with their antlers. Siberian roe deer communicate with each other using vocal signals. They have six signals: squeaking or whistling, rasping, barking, whining, screaming, and nonvocal sounds.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Siberian roe deer are herbivores and their diet consists of over 600 species of plants. In summer, they often visit natural salt licks, and water is usually obtained through moisture-rich foods.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
August-September
PREGNANCY DURATION
280-300 days
BABY CARRYING
2 fawns
INDEPENDENT AGE
4-5 months
FEMALE NAME
doe, hind
MALE NAME
buck, stag
BABY NAME
fawn

Siberian roes deer breed in August and September. After the gestation period that lasts 280-300 days females usually give birth to 2 fawns at a time. The fawns remain hidden in long grass from predators and are suckled by their mother several times a day for around 4-5 months. Females reach reproductive maturity in their first year of age but usually do not breed until their second. Males usually mate in their third year of life.

Population

Population threats

The main threats to Siberian roe deer include illegal hunting for meat and antlers and deforestation. Severe weather and natural predation also pose a serious threat to some populations in certain areas of their range.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Siberian roe deer is common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. However, it was estimated that in 2011, the total population size of the species in Siberia was 326,825 individuals. Currently, the Siberian roe deer is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The specific name of the Siberian roe deer 'pygargus', literally 'white-rumped', is shared by the pygarg, an antelope known in antiquity.
  • The Siberian roe deer was once considered to be the same species as the European roe deer.
  • Roe deer are very agile and can jump distances up to 15 m (49 ft).
  • Roe deer begin regrowing antlers almost immediately after they are shed and are covered in a thin layer of velvet-like fur which disappears later on after the hair's blood supply is lost. Males may speed up the process by rubbing their antlers on trees so that their antlers are hard and stiff for the duels during the mating season.
  • Before Roe deer set to sleep, they scrape leaf litter off the ground to make a 'bed'.

References

1. Siberian Roe Deer on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_roe_deer
2. Siberian Roe Deer on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/42396/22161884

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