Sambar-Deer

Sambar Deer are dark brown in color and attain a height of 102 cm to 160 cm (40 to 63 inches). The weight of the sambar deer of India may touch 300 kg. There are chestnut marks on the rump as well as the underparts. Sambur deer of India also have beautiful manes. However, they are not spotted by birth. The spots develop gradually after birth. Sambhur deer have huge antlers, which may grow to a length of upto 100 cm (40 inches). The antlers are rugged and have simple brow tines, along with forked beams at the tip. These antlers are dropped by the deer on an annual basis.

Sambar deed stands to a height of 135 -150 cm at the shoulder and can weigh up to 300 kg. Males have antlers measuring up to 1m. Its coat is dark brown in colour. It is characterized with large muzzle and broad ears. It has tick fur and orange spots on its body. Males are larger than the females. Its tail is 22- 35 cm long. Males have thick mane of hairs around the neck.

Sambar deer are found inhabiting mainly damp woodland environments of the Indian subcontinent, like marshes and swamps. One can hardly find them residing far from water, but they can be found at high elevations also. The other natural habitat of the Sambar deer comprises of Indian temperate forests. Apart from India, Sambhur deer is found in the slopes of the Himalayan Mountains, Burma, Thailand, Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, southern China, Taiwan and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia.

Sambur deer of India are herbivores and survive on a diet consisting of coarse vegetation, grass, and herbs. Their staple diet includes grass, sprigs, fruits and bamboo buds.

The mating period of the Indian sambhur deer falls in the month of November/December. The male deer guard their rutting territories and try to attract the female deer through vocal and olfactory displays. The gestation period of sambar deer is approximately 6 months and, usually, they give birth to a single offspring only.

The sambar (Rusa unicolor) is a large deer native to the Indian subcontinent, southern China and Southeast Asia. Although it primarily refers to R. unicolor, the name “sambar” is also sometimes used to refer to the Philippine deer (called the “Philippine sambar”) and the Javan rusa (called the “Sunda sambar”). The name is also spelled sambur, or sambhur.

across their range, which has led to considerable taxonomic confusion in the past; over forty different scientific synonyms have been used for the species. In general, they attain a height of 102 to 160 centimetres (40 to 63 in) at the shoulder and may weigh as much as 546 kg (1,204 lb), though more typically 100 to 350 kg (220 to 770 lb). Head and body length varies from 1.62 to 2.7 m (5.3 to 8.9 ft), with a 22 to 35 cm (8.7 to 13.8 in) tail. Individuals belonging to western subspecies tend to be larger than those from the east and females are smaller than males. Among all living cervid species, only the moose and the elk can attain larger sizes.

The large, rugged antlers are typically rusine, the brow tines being simple and the beams forked at the tip, so that they have only three tines. The antlers are typically up to 110 cm (43 in) long in fully adult individuals. As with most deer, only the males have antlers.

The shaggy coat can be anything from yellowish-brown to dark grey in colour and, while it is usually uniform in colour, some subspecies have chestnut marks on the rump and underparts. Sambar also have a small but dense mane, which tends to be more prominent in males. The tail is relatively long for deer, and is generally black above with a whitish underside.

Adult males and pregnant or lactating females possess an unusual hairless, blood-red spot located about halfway down the underside of their throats. This sometimes oozes a white liquid, and is apparently glandular in nature.

Sambar are nocturnal or crepuscular. The males live alone for much of the year, and the females live in small herds of up to sixteen individuals. Indeed, in some areas, the average herd consists of only three or four individuals, typically consisting of an adult female, her most recent young, and perhaps a subordinate, immature female. This is an unusual pattern for deer, which more commonly live in larger groups. They often congregate near water, and are good swimmers.Like most deer, sambar are generally quiet, although all adults can scream or make short, high-pitched sounds when alarmed. However, they more commonly communicate by scent marking and foot stamping.

Though they mate and reproduce year-round, sambar calving peaks seasonally. Oestrus lasts around eighteen days. The male establishes a territory from which he attracts nearby females, but he does not establish a harem. The male stomps the ground, creating a bare patch, and often wallows in the mud, perhaps to accentuate the colour of his hair, which is typically darker than that of females. While they have been heard to make a loud coarse bellow, rutting stags are generally not vocal. Large dominant stags will defend non-exclusive territories surrounded by several smaller males which they have bonded and formed alliances with through sparring. When sparring with rival males, sambar lock antlers and push, like other deer, but, uniquely, they also sometimes stand on their hind legs and clash downward into each other in a manner similar to species of goat-antelope. Females also fight on their hind legs and use their forelegs to hit each other in the head.

Courtship is based more on tending bonds rather than males vocally advertising themselves. Females moving widely among breeding territories seeking males to court. When mounting, males do not clasp females. The front legs of the male hang loosely and intromission takes the form of a “copulatory jump”.

Gestation probably lasts around eight months, although some studies suggest it may be slightly longer. Normally only one calf is born at a time, although twins have been reported in up to 2% of births. Initially weighing 5 to 8 kilograms (11 to 18 lb), the calves are usually not spotted, although in some subspecies there are light spots which disappear not long after birth. The young begin to take solid food at 5 to 14 days, and begin to ruminate after one month. Sambar have lived for up to 28 years in captivity, although it is unlikely that they often survive more than twelve years in the wild.