At first glance, you might think they look very similar, but the truth is that if you take the time to look twice... well, they don't look so alike after all! They are two very distinct animals: the roe deer and the red deer. Don't panic! We'll explain everything.
Let's start with some basic reminders. The doe is the female of the red deer (Cervus elaphus), a large deer that roams many forests, provided they are dense enough and are not crossed by numerous roads.
The female roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), also called a doe, is also a deer that inhabits many European forests.
But why are the two so easily confused? Quite simply because to the eye of a city dweller, a four-legged mammal with a beige coat that populates many forests... is easily confused with another!
When in doubt, observe
So let's take a look at both of their characteristics so that this mistake is never made again. In both species, the female does not have antlers, unlike the males (red deer and roe deer), which have a magnificent adornment on their heads. This except during the period of antler loss, which generally occurs at the end of winter for red deer, and between October and November for roe deer.
The roe deer doe is much smaller than the red deer doe. It rarely exceeds 30 inches at the withers, while the red deer doe easily reaches 40 inches at the withers.
There is also a difference when it comes to weight.
The female roe deer weighs between 20 and 25 kg, while the female red deer can reach up to 100 kg! Size is, therefore, the first selection criterion.
But let's look at some other characteristics. From the side, the silhouette of a roe deer doe is quite different from that of a red deer doe.
The roe deer doe has a much shorter muzzle, often with a dark patch on it, while the red deer doe has a long, broad muzzle of the same colour as its coat. The muzzle is also much more pronounced and massive in the female red deer.
Finally, note that roe deer and red deer do not live in exactly the same habitat. While both enjoy forest cover, roe deer will not hesitate to wander out into open spaces such as agricultural plains and cultivated fields.
Red deer, on the other hand, are much more cautious and are much less frequently seen in semi-urban areas. Find out more in the video above!