Deer / Chital
( Axis axis)
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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