Notes from St Tiggywinkles: Christmas brings our own little Rudolphs

A Reeves muntjac deer at Tiggys
A Reeves muntjac deer at Tiggys

We are so lucky at Tiggys as every Christmas nature and its quirks presents us with a whole host of baby Rudolphs.

Of course they are not reindeer but they are deer. Baby muntjacs to be precise. As yet mother muntjac have not got the seasons right and will give birth to their little Rudolphs in the middle of winter. That is our winter.

In truth the Christmas month over here may be cold, snowy and icy but in the muntjacs’ native south-east Asia it is lovely and warm, perfect for little deer.

It’s not that nature has got it all wrong it is that two species of muntjac deer, the Indian muntjac and the Reeves muntjac were shipped over to Britain at the end of the 19th Century. They were then either released or escaped into ‘our green and pleasant land’.

As you would expect with an introduced species, the Indian muntjac died out but Mrs Reeves thought, “I like it here,” and promptly prospered.

Just as well, the indigenous species in south-east Asia is being persecuted near to extinction.

Now Britain’s population of Reeves muntjac could be the saviour of the species on the planet.

We have even been asked to advise vets in Malaysia about the idiosyncrasies of handling these tough little deer.

Muntjacs are doing very well in Buckinghamshire although they do seem to always be getting into trouble.

Once again their adoption of our climate isn’t quite working as many of them are developing crippling arthritis probably due to our cooler weather.

We will be on duty over Christmas to take in casualties and, of course, to bottle feed our Rudolf orphans. Aren’t we lucky?