Spotted Deer / Chital
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The Spotted Deer is the most commonly found member of the deer family in India. It is found across the entire country except in the extreme northern regions. They are mostly seen in large herds of 30 - 50 females with a few stags. However it is not uncommon to see large herds of bachelors numbering upto 100 in areas such as the grasslands of Corbett N.P. They grow to a height of approximately 90 cm at the shoulders and can weigh up to 85 kgs. Their life expectancy ranges from 20 - 30 years. Despite being one of the favourite prey species of predators such as tigers and leopards and only giving birth to a single fawn at a time, their population is quite abundant.

A male spotted deer can sometimes grow handsome antlers up to 80 cm in length

Their diet consists of all kinds of vegetation but grass is the favourite. They also eat the antlers that they shed for their rich nutrients.

Spotted deer are very nervous animals and are always on the look out for any approaching danger.

Spotted deer are extremely nervous animals and are always on the alert for a stalking predator. They are often seen under trees housing Langurs for two reasons. Firstly, due to their higher perch, the langurs forewarn them about approaching danger and secondly, the titbits dropped by the Langurs make easy pickings for a meal. The breeding season is not during one part of the year only. It can be in both the summer or winter. However, it is mostly seen during the summers, when males can be seeing throwing their heads back and letting out loud mating calls. Although it comes nowhere close to the volume of the mating call of the Swamp deer. Loud clashing of antlers can also be heard at night during this period.

These deer can be seen, unlike many of their cousins, in dense jungle as well as open grasslands. The main factor behind their location is the presence of water.

Due to its alertness and sharp alarm call at seeing a predator, trackers often use this as an indication to pinpoint the location of a predator. However, it is only if the call is repeated many times over that they are taken seriously. A hypersensitive Chital has been seen giving an alarm call due to the falling of a leaf behind it! The alarm calls of Langurs and Sambar deer are taken much more seriously.

Although Chital can be found across the entire country, the widlife parks most famous for their spotted deer populations are Corbett, Kanha, Dudhwa, Bandhavgarh, Mudumalai and Sariska.

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