RICHARD WILLIAMSON Nature Trails...March 17

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This is what you get if you keep quiet.

A reader has sent me these charming portraits of muntjac deer on his lawn. He wishes to remain anonymous in his West Sussex home.

These animals are wild, and have come out of the forest to harbour within feet of the windows of his house.

The buck is in velvet, the doe is eating an apple. Both keep a watchful eye on his movements.

I wonder if the Duke of Bedford, who introduced these animals to his zoo at Woburn in 1890 and again 1903, realised they would colonise England so successfully.

He brought in the Indian species first, followed by the Chinese muntjac.

They have hybridised so the species are not always distinct here.

They are small deer, standing at most 17 inches at the shoulder.

They live around here too but I hardly ever see them, only the tiny slots in the mud.

You would think they were the imprints of very young roe deer.

Once a muntjac has found a safe, quiet glade in a wood it will be very faithful to that place.

Even if chased by dogs it will not scatter. but circulate and return if at all possible.

In its true Asian haunts hunters knew that to catch one in a snare would take weeks of careful field craft in order to learn the maze of secret runs the deer would take as it tried to return home.

Enough of words, I would rather on this occasion fill the limited space with these two marvellous photographs.