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Thread: Vestigial upper canines

  1. #1

    Vestigial upper canines

    I have read and heard about the odd roe having tusks normally only in one side and not very big, has anyone ever come across them?

    l have shot quite a few roe over the years and always pay close attention to the deer l have taken but personally never seen one, l read that they are found in about 1% of roe.

  2. #2
    Vesigial canines are certainly not big but are quite visible when they do occur. On the few occasions I've come across them they have been grown on both sides. I think 1% of the male population having them might be a bit generous though .

    I suspect that more bucks carry them than we realise as we simply don't look for them in shot animals.

  3. #3
    Yes!! I was about to post a similar thread on it when yours came up in the search. I have managed a population of Roe in west Surrey for a number of years. On the same ground over two years I shot 4 or 5 roe of both sexes (out of an average cull of 15 of each sex) that had small canines protruding on the edge of the upper palate. Only one doe had any kind of significant root to the canines. The rest were just growing out of the skin and protruded only a millimeter at the most. The doe's canines were uneven, 2mm on one side and 1mm on the other. If I can find the skull I will take some photos and post them.

  4. #4
    Not that rare, as the Mole says probably more carry them than we realise, also wonder if it could be genetic as I have one area where they seem to be more common than in my other areas

  5. #5
    I would say around 1% in roe is correct in the populations I have been involved in. Germans & Austrians I have known always check for them.

  6. #6
    Found a skull but its a buck one. I'm sure I have a doe somewhere as well. The canine is longer than I remembered. The one on the opposite side was shorter and did not have a root so I lost it during the boiling process. The third photo shows how long the longer canine was protruding.
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  7. #7
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Here's one from a couple of years ago - still the only one I've ever shot or personally seen:



    willie_gunn
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  8. #8
    I think Durham University were doing a study on it at one time (around 2005 I think). If anyone knows about it or has access to their study then it would be interesting to hear what conclusions they made.

  9. #9
    Strange but I have never seen them in a doe, but in an annual cull of around a hundred bucks I will probably see twenty with tusks, in fact so used to seeing them that I don't really look for them.

    Unlike a stag tusk which has a fair hold they come out easily, in fact they are often lost when boiling the head.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by bogtrotter View Post
    Strange but I have never seen them in a doe, but in an annual cull of around a hundred bucks I will probably see twenty with tusks, in fact so used to seeing them that I don't really look for them.

    Unlike a stag tusk which has a fair hold they come out easily, in fact they are often lost when boiling the head.
    Must be something to do with the area or the genes - I have only ever shot maybe 200+ roe (in the north - Nairn, Inverness and Strathglass) but have only found (I think) 3 or maybe 4 with canines - including at least one doe though.

    Mostly 'loose' - though I do recall at least one which had proper 'tusks'.

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