Saw my first of the year a couple of weeks back, sunning its self in the middle of a path around the lake.
I see them every year around all of the lakes, but it seems to me there are nothing like as many as there used to be.
10 or 15 years ago you could find them on any sunny day, sometimes used to see 20 or 30 on a walk round all the lakes.
These days I never see more than 2 or 3, and you have to actually go looking for them, not sure why, or if there is anything
I can do to give them more of a chance.
I would be really interested to hear more about your first hand account of that - if you can share any more information I'd be grateful.
It's not hard to believe at all, or at least it's not if you study the mythology of deer. See, for example, Medieval Bestiary : Stag
Deer have been believed to be the enemies of snakes for centuries. They were meant to either breathe in water and then expel it into the holes where snakes lived to force them out, or to actually snort them out. Once out of their hidey-holes the deer would trample the snake to death or swallow them. To overcome the poison the deer would drink lots of water. Bezoar stones, which were reputed to hold great medicinal powers and to counteract any poison, were believed to be expelled from deer's tear ducts.
Deer have been portrayed as the enemies of snakes many times.
The Bacchus dish that forms part of the Mildenhall treasure from the 4th century AD:
A 6th century Byzantine mosaic in Istanbul:
A 12th century illumination:
And this from Ely Cathedral:
And to think the only reason most of us are interested in deer is to shoot them
Basically the does bark at the snakes & then jump on them. I have never seen them mouth a snake or attempted to eat or taste one after they have killed it. The older does will continue to bark & stomp on the lifeless body till they loose interest & drift off. I have never actually established that any of the species of deer that I own have died from snake bite, but I'm sure there must have been a few. Of all the species that I keep fallow ore the only deer I have seen attack snakes. Sambar are the most defensive of the deer & will defend themselves against dogs, but don't seen too concerned if there is a snake. Most species of deer just move off quietly from snakes, however fallow seem to hunt them, both species do & the D mesopitamica are more aggressive & wilder when it comes to most things (including snakes) than the D dama.
They are pretty prolific round here in certain areas. Usually sunning themselves on the side of forestry roads gaining some heat. Not looked for any this year as of yet. Will try and get a few photos to post.