Facts about Sambar deer /Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus

Sambar deer

Sambar deer are light brown or dark with a grayish or yellowish tinge. The underparts are paler. Old sambars turn very dark brown, almost the color black. Their coat of dark short hair is coarse, and their undersides have creamy white to lighter brown hair. The color of the coat is usually consistent around the body, but it can vary from almost dark gray to yellowish-brown. Males have unique stout, rugged antlers with three points, or tines. Their tail is quite long for deer, generally black on top and a dirty white or whitish underneath. They have long, strong legs, the upper color being dark brown, with the inner parts of the legs a paler or dirty white. Their brownish gray ears are long.


Sambar deer are native in India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Sri Lanka, Burma, the Philippines, southern China, Taiwan, Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Java. They also have been successfully introduced in New Zealand, Australia, California, Florida and Texas. They inhabit both the gentle slopes and the steeper parts of forested hillsides.
Sambars are mostly nocturnal and they rest during the day under the cover of heavy forest. They often gather near water, and they are good swimmers, being able to easily swim with their body fully submerged with only their head above water. Their senses are highly developed, which is of assistance in detecting predators. When they perceive danger, they make a repetitive honking call.

Diet and Nutrition

At certain times of the year they like eating different types of fruit but mainly they are harbivorus.
Mating Habits
Sambars are polygynous, one male mating with multiple females. Males are very aggressive at the time of the breeding season.  There is no specific breeding season, though it most commonly takes place between from September and January. Usually just one fawn is born, after a gestation period of about 9 months. Calves at birth are very active. Their hair is brown with lighter spots, which soon disappear. They begin to eat solid food from 5 to 14 days, and ruminate once they are 27 to 35 days old. They stay with their mothers for approximately 2 years.

Population threats

Hunting and habitat encroachment are the main threats. Sambars have developed more of a nocturnal activity pattern as a response to hunting by humans, who hunt them for trade and for food. Natural predators are leopards, tigers, dholes, wolves and crocodiles. They are sometimes captured for zoos.

Population number

India exceeds 50,000 individuals and in Australia Sambars number more than 5,000 individuals. Overall, currently Sambar deer are classifed as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and their numbers today are decreasing.


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