The Deer of Nara Park Have a Favor to Ask of You
The deer inhabiting Nara Park are designated as a Natural Treasure. Please take note that they are wild animals and not kept by the park.
Deer are cute,can be aggressive, and you may be subject to an attack.
Even though they are accustomed to humans, please do not feed them. It may make them sick or at worst kill them.
●Do not strike, chase or otherwise harass the deer.
These are wild animals and they can attack. Visitors accompanied by small children are especially advised to exercise caution.
●Do not feed the deer anything other than the recommended deer fodder (rice crackers for feeding the deer).
●When feeding the deer, give them the deer fodder immediately. Teasing them makes them angry.
●Do not litter. The deer may eat the garbage and become sick.
Some Trivia About the Deer of Nara Park
Where do the deer sleep?
Since the deer are wild animals, they sleep wherever they like in Nara Park. Groups of deer have their own favored sleeping, feeding and resting grounds.
What is the deer fodder made of?
The deer fodder consists of crackers made of rice bran and wheat flour. It contains no sugar or salt and is safe for the deer to eat.
What do deer eat?
Deer are herbivores. They eat plants such as the grass (shiba; Korean lawngrass, Zoysia japonica) that grows in Nara Park, as well as the nuts, fruits and berries that fall from trees.
Never feed the deer anything other than the approved deer fodder. Giving them the wrong food can cause tooth decay and food poisoning, which can be fatal to the deer.
The Deer Line
The trees of Nara Park have no branches below the 2m mark, creating a forest you can see clearly through for great distances. This line is called the deer line. It is formed by the upper limit of the range the deer can reach to eat branches and leaves.
How can you tell the bucks from the does?
Bucks have horns; does do not.
How many deer live in Nara Park?
The park is inhabited by 236 bucks (male), 715 does (female) and 229 fawns (baby deer), for a total of 1,180 deer. (Source: July 2016 survey)
How long have the deer been living in Nara Park?
Legend has it that Takemika, one of the gods enshrined in Kasuga Grand Shrine, arrived here riding a white horse. The Man’yōshū relates that deer inhabited this location at the time of writing (750 AD).