SWAMP DEER OR BARASINGHA/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus


DESCRIPTION: A large deer with a spectacular 5–6-tined antler in males, the
Barasingha is reddish brown in winter and greyish brown in summer, with whitish
underparts. A dark brown dorsal stripe is present, and the animals have a relatively short tail and rounded ears. Neck mane is not prominent. The antlers are branched dichotomously in the upper third of the beam and this branching continues in every tine till they achieve 10–12 tines. Juveniles start developing a pedicle by seven months and a spike within a year. The full antler development takes up to three years. Females are only a third of the male size but are still considerably larger than Spotted Deer does. They can be told apart from Sambar does in the field by the white instead of pink hair inside their ears. The three subspecies differ in cranial and dental features, and also in the field. The Wetland Barasingha is the largest and its hind much taller, and with a thicker neck and build than the eastern race. Its tail is longer with a whitish fringe to it. The Hard-ground Barasingha is slightly smaller than the wetland one, but has longer antlers, darker pelage and a more prominent neck ruff. Its hooves are not splayed like the wetland and eastern races. The Eastern Barasingha is the smallest, with the smallest antlers and tail. The antlers show distinct branching lower down the beam, and are flatter and more
palmate than others. The face is slender; the ears are smaller and pointed, instead
of rounded and have little white hair in them. Large white or cream hair on the
insides of ears is the easiest way to distinguish hard-ground and wetland does
from Sambar.

BEHAVIOUR: Swamp Deer are creatures of habit and tend to use the same tracks to and from meadows. They don’t have vigilant sentries in their herds, often grazing with their heads down simultaneously. If disturbed, they seek tall grass and not woodland.

DISTRIBUTION: In five discrete populations in three regions of central, north– east and northern India.

HABITAT: Flooded tall grasslands, tall alluvial grasslands interspersed with swamps, and dry grassland bordered by sal forests.

Size: 120–190 cm,

Wt:140–200 kg

IUCN Status: Vulnerable


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