FOUR-HORNED ANTELOPE/ Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus

FOUR-HORNED ANTELOPE

DESCRIPTION: A small, light brown antelope, the Chousingha is only slightly darker than the Indian Gazelle, the female of which it resembles superficially. However, it is much smaller, and can be told apartinstantly by the horns in case of the male and the face-markings of the Chinkaradoe. Two of the subspecies of Chousingha are characterized by the male having four horns with the front pair being shorter and sometimes reduced to knobs. The horns are mere spikes, keeled and not ringed as in most antelopes. The southern subspecies, T.q. subquadricornis, develops only the posterior horns. The fur is uniformly light tan, sometimes washed with red, fawn or grey. Older males are yellowish. The only dark marks are ‘burn marks’ along its shanks. Despite its resemblance to the Chinkara, it is most closely related to the Nilgai. Like the Nilgai, some individuals develop white flecks on the cheek. Horns develop only around a year of age and separating sexes in subadult animals in the field is very difficult. Body size and length of anterior horn in the two northern subspecies is used to age males. Class I males are 66 per cent of the body mass of the adult and hornless, Class II males are the body size of the adult and with no anterior horns, Class III males have anterior horns one-third the size of the adult’s, and Class IV males have anterior horns equal to or more than one-third the size of the adult’s horns. The hind hooves have a scent mark gland.
BEHAVIOUR: It often lives near water, on which it is very dependent. It uses the same ‘latrine sites’ regularly for defecation and lays droppings in piles like the Nilgai; this probably serves as a means of communication.
DISTRIBUTION: Distributed roughly sympatric with the Nilgai but in smaller number of forest fragments; from the sub-Himalayan Terai through central and peninsular India, north of the Nilgiris. Also present in Gir NP, Gujarat. Absent in Kerala.
HABITAT: Dry deciduous forest and scrub, particularly in transition zones; prefers undulating terrain. Tall grass is also rarely frequented.

Size: HBL: 60–110 cm,

Wt: 15–25 kg

IUCN Status: Vulnerable

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