We see the white rump patches only in winter, in summer these hairs are brown. Photo: Tarmo Mikussaar
The fur of roe deer consists of straw-like hairs. It means that the interior of the hair is hollow. These hairs are poor conductors of heat. It helps to protect the body against heat as well as cold. At the same time the hairs are brittle. A roe deer skin is not suitable as a carpet.
In the second half of February and October roe deer change colour. The winter coat is greyish brown, the colour of bare forests. The hairs are longer and more densely placed. It is a good protection against cold. The owner of the fur knows that it must not sleep on the snow. A coat that has become damp from melting snow no longer conserves heat. Roe deer have a white patch on the rump, the so-called rump mirror. In winter it is white, in summer yellowish-russet. The hairs in it are comparatively long. When the roe is excited or notes danger the rump patch is enlarged by raising the hairs. It is a warning – an alert to cospecifics.
The summer coat, with shorter and more sparse reddish-russet hairs, is usually put on in May. The moulting of some individuals lingers into June. Healthy and vital animals finish the process earlier.
The spots in the fur of kids born in spring remain until August.