This is the moment a hidden camera caught two young stags jumping around in a muddy puddle, writes Fiona Jackson.

Ecological consultant Dr Jochen Langbein, 61, set up a covert lens in woodland on Exmoor National Park last month.

When he watched back the footage he was delighted to see two stags frolicking in the mud.

It is well-known that deer wallow in mud during the mating season - but it is rarely captured up-close on camera.

Dr Langbein explained: "Red deer stags in particular are known to use mud wallows especially during the peak of mating season or 'rut' in late September, when they will often roll in the mud to adorn themselves with the pungent rut odour.

"In addition, female red deer as well as yearling males are equally fond of wallowing and covering themselves in mud both during the rutting time, but also well into the winter when mature stags use them less frequently or have left the area.

"It is suggested by some that deer wallow partly to get rid of ticks and other external parasites.

"Among our different deer species, red deer are known to use mud wallows much more extensively than do fallow and roe deer, but the behaviour has received only quite limited scientific study.

"On viewing the footage I was delighted to see I had captured such high-spirited behaviour of the young stags right close up to the camera.

"The footage illustrates perfectly the excitement and joy the deer appear to get from wallowing in the mud - the best things in life remain free!"

The first stag in the clip is approximately 18 months old as he has single spike antlers, but the second has much larger ones, so could be about two-and-a-half years old.

The videos were shot at an undisclosed location on Exmoor on December 4 and December 8, 2020.