Watchable Wildlife

Sika deer  / Fia Seapánach  / Cervus nippon

Did you know?

  • Deer are ruminant herbivores like cows and sheep, with cloven hooves and complex stomachs for breaking down grasses and vegetation.
  • Males have a set of antlers which are regrown every summer.
  • Are not native to Ireland, coming originally from Japan (sika is Japanese for deer). They were introduced to Powerscourt Estate near Glencree in 1859.
  • The female (hinds) live in small herds, whereas the males are more solitary.
  • No predators in Ireland and have spread widely causing much damage to forests where populations are high.
  • Sika deer have interbred with our native red deer and most are now hybrids in this area.
  • Sika deer are protected under the Wildlife Act, but are subject to a hunting season and a licence is required.


What to watch for:


  • Smallish species of deer, with males up to 80cm at the shoulder (females are slightly smaller)


  • Summer coat is reddish with white spots, turning very dark grey-brown in the winter.
  • There is a white rump patch which is displayed as a warning signal.


Where to watch:

  • Live in deciduous and conifer forests which provide shelter and cover from predators (mainly human hunters). Widespread throughout conifer forests, feeding on open grassland.


When to watch:

  • Early morning, and dusk.


Listen for:

  • Short, barking alarm call to alert other members of the herd to danger.
  • During the breeding season or rut, sika deer make a lot of noise! The sika stag has a special whistling call.


Viewing Locations:

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