Huge stag plays beautiful game all by himself in Richmond Park

Huge stag plays beautiful game all by himself in Richmond Park thumbnail

This is the extraordinary moment a stag showed off its skills with a football in southwest London

A video taken by Katie O’Lone during a stroll in Bushy Park, in Richmond, shows the lone animal moving the ball across the water with its nose and horns. 

The mum managed to capture the rare footage during a stroll with her kids after picking them up from nursery.

‘The stags often wallow in the river in Bushy Park in the early evening,’ she said.

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‘Today they seemed to have football fever with one dribbling up stream having found an abandoned football stuck in the reeds.

‘I spotted it as I was walking back from doing the nursery run. Light entertainment before bed.’

Bushy Park, also known as ‘deer park’, is home to roughly 320 red and fallow deer.

For now, this is the only specimen seen by Ms O’Lone to have shown any passion for the beautiful game.

The animals have roamed freely throughout the parks since at least the Tudor period, when their ancestors might have found themselves at the receiving end of arrows from Henry VIII out hunting. 

Though the herds are kept out from the nearby Woodland Gardens and other protected areas, officials say they are indispensable in maintaining the park’s biodiversity.

Grazing helps contribute to variations in the structure of plants in the area, while cutting is less effective and can further damage ant hills. 

The red deer that can be seen milling – and, as the video shows, even kicking – about in the park represent the UK’s largest native mammals. 

Fallow deer, meanwhile, are smaller, boasting a cream-to-dark-brown colour that makes them easily distinguishable from their red counterparts. 

Park officials often remind locals and tourists these deer are, after all, wild animals.

Parkgoers are therefore urged to keep a comfortable distance of at least 50 metres at all times.

This is especially important during mating season Stags often rut in competition for mating partners, and birthing season between May and July, when does can become aggressive if they feel their new offspring are in danger. 

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