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Jonathan McGowan's Natural History Collections


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Home > My Natural History Collections > Roe Deer Antlers

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01431 viewsThis picture shows the growing antler of a roe buck about two weeks after it had shed the last ones. They are soft and sensitive as the growth is soft cartilage at first only hardening slowly from the base upwards as it grows but the whole antler is not hard until it has finished growing and the blood supply is cut off due to a block in hormone release. The vein rich velvet then dies and is scraped off by the buck revealing red fresh bone. It hardens even more and the reddish white turns brown and grey as the summer progresses. They are shed in late autumn. The roe ruts mainly in July or August.
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02133 viewsThis is a piece of broken off antler as it was growing. The velvet skin has been removed.
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02a131 viewsHere is a broken off antler from a vehicle collision. The antler has just been cleaned of velvet.
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03125 viewsA broken off antler piece by a car collision. This piece was still in velvet. Note the thick fur.
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04124 viewsA fully grown set just before the velvet shed. Roe need thick fur to prevent frost bite as that can and does damage the growing antlers. This animal was also a road killed buck.
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05128 viewsThe young buck starts to grow antlers as little knobs, at just a few months old.
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06141 viewsThese are also young bucks in their first year.
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07143 viewsDuring the second year the buck’s antlers are usually two tines or sometimes three but are still usually small.
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08146 viewsA selection of adult roe antlers naturally shed.
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09135 viewsA long beamed roe head with few pearls.
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10150 viewsFive small adult roe heads from acid heathland areas.
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11159 viewsThree mature Dorset buck heads. They were over four years of age. Dorset bucks have characteristic shaped antlers; they have long, low brow tines with few pearls (lyre shaped). The middle head is typical Dorset, and like the original shape of roe antlers before they supposedly went extinct. They are like the prehistoric roe. The left one is from chalk downland and the right one is from heathland.
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