For humans the end of summer might be the start of cuffing season, and for some animals September means something similar: mating season. If you’re heading to see the deer in Richmond or Bushy Park this autumn, make sure to keep your distance. The deer might look cute and cuddly from the outside, but they could charge at any moment.
This is because from September to November, also known as the rut, male deer will be fighting and clashing antlers to attract ‘as many females as possible to mate with’, Royal Parks said.
During mating season the deer have got more raging hormones than a pubescent teenager, meaning they’re likely to be unpredictable and aggressive. Bushy Park’s Assistant Park Manager Bill Swan said deer might seem ‘relaxed and subdued one minute’, and then start ‘suddenly chasing and fighting each other’.
Royal Parks warned visitors to stay at least 50m from deer and 100m from active stags at all times, unless they want to risk ‘severe injury’.
The stags, which are ‘pumped full of testosterone’ can weigh more than 25 stone and run up to 30 miles per hour, according to Royal Parks. Being hit by a stag travelling at full speed is the equivalent of being run over by a motorbike, the parks added.
‘Visitors will notice a significant change in the deer from mid-September,’ Swan said. ‘The first obvious change is the sound of deer bellowing in the parks as a warning to their rivals. The dominant male deer will start to round up the females, and fighting with other deer may ensue in a bid to hold onto their harems. Please don’t risk your safety, and that of children, by getting in the middle of the action. Keep your distance, and bring binoculars if you want a closer look.’
Unless you want to create the sequel to Fenton, keep your dogs on a lead too.
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