Shaggy deer unexpectedly caught by RMK’s deer camera 04.03

Of late, a deer feeding area on Saaremaa has begun to be frequented by a young buck significantly hairier and darker than other red deer. When attempting to define its species, experts can make neither head nor tail of the animal.
According to Tiit Hunt, a zoologist and nature photographer who actively follows RMK’s nature camera, the animal requires some closer study. “Its longer and darker winter coat points to the attributes of a Sika deer whereas the profile of its head hints at those of a red deer; however, the darker area around its tail is not characteristic of either of the deer species – red deer and Sika deer – occurring in Estonia,” Tiit Hunt said.

Of deer species, only the red deer has been known to occur on Saaremaa to date, and this has been always the case since the introduction of deer to the island in 1965. “Last November, however, there was a surprise when, upon closer inspection by hunters, a hunted buck turned out to be a Sika deer instead,” recounted Tiit Hunt. “In winter, Sika deer bucks have no light spots, as a result of which the two deer species are difficult to tell apart, especially given the knowledge that one of the species does not occur on Saaremaa.”

According to Tiit Hunt, the report of the Sika deer captured on Saaremaa suggests that the woolly timid animal recently recorded by RMK’s nature camera may be a hybrid of the red deer and the Sika deer or, simply, a red deer with an abnormal coat. “Perhaps evidence gathered going forward will bring clarity; in the meantime, everyone can keep an eye on RMK’s nature camera for themselves and, with some luck, watch the animal that has caused the excitement live from their home,” he said. Animals are busiest in front of the nature camera during the hours of darkness.

A live feed from RMK’s deer camera is available for viewing at A video recording of the unexpectedly shaggy deer is accessible at.