Although the deer are less than 2ft tall and weigh a maximum of 31lb, the males have a secret weapon - downward-pointing fangs which can grow more than 3in long.
Latest victim was Perdita, a six-year-old Jack Russell out for a walk with Georgina Robey, 12, and her tenyearold brother Daniel. Perdita suffered cuts on her back, neck and both sides of her stomach after an encounter with a mystery predator.
It was only when the children's father Loren took the dog to a vet that they realised she had apparently fallen victim to a serial-attack deer. The same vet had already treated five dogs in a similar condition.
Chinese Water Deer were first introduced into Great Britain in the 1870s and were kept in the London Zoo. In 1896, they were transferred to Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, with further additions being imported and added to the stock. In 1929 and 1930, 32 deer were transferred from Woburn to Whipsnade, also in Bedfordshire, and released into the park.
The present introduced population derives from a number of deliberate releases; the majority, however, is descended from escapees. The majority of the wild Chinese Water Deer population still resides in close proximity to Woburn Abbey. It appears that the deer’s strong preference for a particular habitat – tall reed and grass areas in rich alluvial deltas - has restricted its potential to colonize further afield.
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