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Mike's Blog - Day 270

The other owl box went down the lane from the garden.

It overlooks some set-a-side farmland.

Sometimes you see the deer wandering out of the woods there, but they move away very quickly. All you see are their white bums. I suppose that’s a warning sign to other deer that there is danger. Rabbits do the same.

I checked this out with Professor Steve Willis in the Bioscience department and it’s correct, apparently. It’s also thought to be something younger juvenile animals can follow more easily if they have to follow to escape danger. Steve also pointed out that some ungulates go one step further when they see a predator and do some more extravagant jumping (often referred to as pronking or stotting) to let the predator know that they're so nimble it's not worth their while to chase them. Here are two examples from YouTube:

Oh Deer! Stop Stotting!

"A mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) as it stots away. The stot is a pace performed by mule deer (including the black-tailed deer), and several species of antelope. You might see it in baby livestock too, but they eventually outgrow it. Animals are thought to stot to show potential predators that they are young, fit, and probably too fast to catch..."

Jumping Springbok Sunset

"Awesome springbok showing off and jumping at Sunset."

I wonder if this is where the term “stotting mad” comes from, i.e. someone who gets so angry that they are jumping up and down? I have the ability to cause this reaction from my wife.

The deer we get here in our local woods is roe deer. This is one of our native deer, the other being the red deer. They have been around since the Mesolithic period – 6000 to 10,000 years BCE.