SPOTTED DEER/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus

SPOTTED DEER
Spotted deer family

DESCRIPTION: Popularly known as Chital, this is India’s most common, most visible and arguably most beautiful deer. It is also the only predominantly spotted deer in the country, with spots present in both sexes, in all seasons and through life. The reddish brown coat varies geographically, becoming redder in southern India while the deer of northern Terai and central India are the largest in size and antlers. Older males are darker and the fawns are lighter. Its white throat patch and undersides are complemented by a dark dorsal stripe, and in the case of old males, with a dark muzzle band and a dark pattern on the face. During the rut, the male necks become darker and more swollen. There is no neck ruff and the
facial glands are less developed. Male antlers are lyre-shaped with three tines: a
long brow tine and two branch tines. Older males may have one or more false points where thebrow joins the beam. The sexes are almost identical except for sizeand the presence of antlers in the male. The antlers are largest proportional to body size and the body is longer proportional to height among all other deer in the world. The tail is relatively long, and the ears are medium-sized and narrow compared with the Sambar. This, and the general dappled colouration, may be adaptations to its diurnal and forest- edge existence unlike the nocturnal forest habitat of the Sambar.

BEHAVIOUR: Has a fairly unique association with langurs; it acts as a look-out for the monkeys, as well as feeds on leaves and fruit dropped by langurs from
trees. It is also one of the few deer that does not wallow.

DISTRIBUTION: Through peninsular India till Gujarat and the Gangetic Plain eastwards till Manas in the North– East. Present in the Sunderbans and Bhitarkanika. Introduced into the Andamans.

HABITAT: Grassland–deciduous forest ecotones, especially around fringes. Also present in swampy meadows, plantations, riparian forests, mangroves and scrublands.

Size: 140–155 cm

Wt: 70–85 kg

IUCN Status: Least Concern

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