Chinese water deer

Hydropotes inermis


Photo credit: ©A. S. Cooke
Chinese Water Deer - Hydropotes inermis
  • It is a small, stocky deer with a small tail and no white rump patch. They have brown-grey fur, which may be redder in summer. Males have no antlers, but have prominent canine teeth (tusks) which can be up to 6 cm long.
  • It can be seen in wet habitats, like reed-beds, swamps, marshes, rivers and streams, as well as woodland and arable farmland.

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Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
  • It is native to China, but was in captivity (and escaped into the wild) in the UK in the 19th century.
  • Its range in the UK is limited to Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.

Potential or Known Impacts:
  • It may have the potential to damage understorey vegetation and arable crops. The males have the potential to strip bark with their tusks during the rut (breeding season).
  • They are an occasional road casualties, therefore contributing towards the small economic costs of traffic accidents caused by deer.

How did it/could it get here?
  • It may be imported as a zoo species, which could escape if not properly contained.

Is it found in Northern Ireland?
  • It is not found in Northern Ireland.

You can help by reporting any sightings: @ the Centre for Environmental Data & Recording (CEDaR) - Or via the iRecord App.
Methods for Prevention: For further queries, you can contact the Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558 or Email:  

Species Related Files:

Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland