This picture shows the moment a ‘two headed’ stag was captured on camera at Blair Castle on the Atholl Estate in Perthshire.
Gamekeeper Sandy Reid caught the pair of male red deer at just the perfect moment giving the impression of a single stag having two heads.
Stags and hinds live in separate herds for much of the year but come together rather vocally in late September or early October at the start of the breeding season, or rut. Hinds (females) are only fertile for a day or less each year so the competition to mate is incredibly high.
During the rut, younger newcomers will challenge the current dominant stag for the attention of the herd hinds (females) with elaborate and noisy clashes of antlers and ‘roaring’ which can be heard quite from some distance.
The effort involved in the head-to-head battles means that over the course of the rut, stags may lose as much as 20% of their body weight as they wrestle for control of their harem.
The ultimate victor will mate with as many females as possible, usually up to 20, with calves being born the following June.