Viola Stirling’s Nature Diary – June 1921

In the aptly named ‘Deer Forest’, Viola has a close encounter with a stag. We are unsure of what type of deer it is, but we can probably presume it is a red deer due to the number of branches from its antlers in Viola’s description.

Both the roe and red deer grow their antlers every year. They are able to do so as deer antler is one of the fastest growing tissues in the world!

The antlers of red deer begin to grow in March and are protected by a velvet skin. They will continue to grow until August when blood supply to the antler stops.

The lack of blood supply ensures that the velvet skin withdraws from the antler. This means that the ‘feeling’ from the antlers disappears allowing them to fight without pain.

For a red deer, a big antler is definitely better! This will give them an advantage when rutting season begins.