roe deer

Roe deer in winter


Roe deer is the smallest deer in Latvia. In winter roes feed on small branches, tree and fern buds and sometimes they manage to find browse of caulescent plants. If they can’t find anything else, they eat also last year’s grass and hay. Snow is a great obstacle for roes in finding food. Even 30-40 cm thick snow is a nuisance as they have to scratch the snow off to get to the food. Imagine how you would feel, if you had to clear snow with haft of the spade instead of spade itself. Roes have very thin legs that are not suitable for such work, so it spends too much energy. To spend winter successfully it is very important that the snow cover doesn’t stay too long. Crust is extremely dangerous as roes cut up their legs.
This winter was quite good for the roes as the snow was frozen and very strong so animals were able to walk across it. As everything is covered with ice they can easily access osiers growing by ponds and other water body. If they have the possibility, they are eager to visit graveyards, where they can find different coniferous trees and cut flowers. People usually are not very happy about that.
Orchards are another place where roes can find something to eat. Instead of eating bark they mostly choose browse and buds of fruit trees and berry bushes. Sometimes people leave hay, carrots and beets for animals to eat. But before you left something for them in your garden, you have to understand that roes tend to look for food close to settlements not only in winter but in summer too. Roes are risking their life by coming to villages as they can get in a car accident, they have to watch out from dogs and sometimes poachers.


Breeding Roe Deer


Roe deer are breeding in July and August. Males fight for and defend their territory against other males by marking it with their scent which they leave on every other bush they butt and on the ground they scratch. Often in the meadows there are circles with diameter of 2-3 m. These are made by roebuck and its mate in a peculiar mating dance during which doe circle around small bush or clump while roebuck is trying to keep up.Fawns are born in June as the Roe deer has a long latent period of pregnancy. Implantation of the embryo usually occurs in January.