Deer wandering the streets near Barlinnie Prison? Have they just locked up Santa Claus? – Susan Morrison

It’s safe to say the rain that hit Glasgow on Saturday night was in the upper end of the ‘heavy’ category. It was positively biblical.

Are deer starting to get a taste for city living?
Are deer starting to get a taste for city living?

The M8 briefly turned into a raging torrent and the windscreen wipers were putting in a serious shift. I slowed down. No-one else did. I felt like I had driven into an episode of the Whacky Races.

The deer appeared from nowhere. Three of them. They bounded gracefully onto the motorway, right in front of me.

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I hit the brakes and the car slowed to a halt.

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The deer – having caused me to nearly need new pants – gazed at me balefully, clocked the truck beyond me and, equally gracefully, bounded back into the undergrowth.

Deer. In Glasgow, and within hailing distance of Barlinnie Prison. Dear god, I thought, have they locked up Santa?

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Our city centres seem to have become wildlife havens, and for wildlife with only a very vague notion of the Highway Code. When I were a lass, four-legged creatures in Glasgow rarely exceeded the size of medium-sized dog. If we wanted to view a coo, we had to go to Dunoon or Ayr.

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Growing deer populations pose environmental threat
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How do they survive? In the schemes of Easterhouse and Drumchapel, there was a time when the idea of deer on the loose would have been regarded less as a wonder of nature and more as a moving feast, raised as we were on Errol Flyn’s Robin Hood thieving the king’s stags to feed the poor. Trust me, we’d have been seriously unsentimental about barbecuing Bambi.

Come to think of it, the foxes have been getting a bit too street-wise as well. Perhaps we should re-introduce those upper-class buffoons in red jackets to hunt through the city. Urban hunting chaps, it's the way ahead, with a whole new range of challenges.

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Who wouldn’t pay good money to see an outraged Drumchapel grannie doing her dinger at some chinless wonder in a red coat who’s just ridden through her garden, decimating her gnome collection. Those Snow White and the Seven Dwarves collections aren’t easy to come by, mate.

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