1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Roe-buck

ROE-BUCK, the smallest of the British deer (a full-grown buck standing not more than 27 in. high at the shoulder), the typical representative of a genus (Capreolus) in which the antlers lack a brow-tine and belong to what is characterized as the forked type, while the tail is rudimentary (see Deer). The antlers are short, upright and deeply furrowed, the beam forking at about two-thirds of its length, and the upper prong again dividing, thus making three points. The coat in summer is foxy red above and white below; in winter this changes to a greyish fawn, with a white rump-patch. The roe-buck or roe-deer (Capreolus caprea, or C. capreolus) inhabits southern and temperate Europe as far east as the Caucasus, where, as in Syria, it is probably represented by another race or species. It frequents woods, preferring such as have a large growth of underwood and are in the neighbourhood of cultivated ground. The latter it visits in the evening in search of food; and where roe are numerous the damage done to growing crops is considerable. Pairing takes place in August, but the fawns are not born till the following May. According to one theory, the germ lies dormant until December, when it begins to develop; but it is now believed that this long gestation is due to slow rather than arrested development. Roe were formerly abundant in all the wooded parts of Great Britain, but were gradually exterminated, till a century and a half ago they were unknown south of Perthshire. Since then the increase of plantations has led to the partial restoration of the species in the south of Scotland and the north of England; and it was reintroduced into Dorset early in the 19th century. These deer take readily to the water, and they have been known to swim across lochs more than half a mile in breadth. The Siberian roe (C. pygargus), which is common in the Altai, is larger and paler than the type species, with shorter and more hairy ears, a larger white rump-patch, and small irregular snags on the inner border of the antlers. The Manchurian roe (Capreolus manchuricus) is about the size of the European species, with antlers of the type of those of the Siberian roe, but more slender, and the coat shorter. Although described in 1889 as a local variety of the Siberian species, the Manchurian roe really appears, both as regards stature, hairiness and the black and white markings on the muzzle, much more nearly related to the European animal. This is the more remarkable seeing that the habitats of the two are separated by such an enormous tract of country.  (R. L.*)