Sambar

Sambar

Sambar deer

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Subfamily
Genus
SPECIES
Rusa unicolor
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
20-26 yrs
WEIGHT
100-350 kg
HEIGHT
102-160 cm
LENGTH
1.62-2.7 m

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 light 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 dirty white or whitish underneath. Sambars 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. 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.

No

Nocturnal

Cr

Crepuscular

He

Herbivore

Te

Terrestrial

Cu

Cursorial

Zo

Zoochory

No

Nomadic

Te

Territorial

Vi

Viviparous

Br

Browsing

Po

Polygyny

So

Social

He

Herding

No

Not a migrant

S

starts with

Ca

Camouflaged Animals
(collection)

Distribution

Geography

Sambar deer are native in India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Sri Lanka, Burma, the Philippines, southern China, Taiwan, Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Java. They inhabit both the gentle slopes and the steeper parts of forested hillsides. Sambar prefer to live in tropical dry forests, open scrub, tropical seasonal forests, subtropical mixed forests with stands of conifers and montane grasslands, broadleaved deciduous and broadleaved evergreen trees, to tropical rainforests, and seldom move far from water sources. These deer can also be found near cultivated areas like gardens and plantations, where they can find food.

Sambar habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Sambar are nocturnal or crepuscular animals and rest during the day under the cover of heavy forest. The males live alone for much of the year, and the females live in small herds of up to 16 individuals. Males are nomadic and will establish their territory primarily during the breeding season; they wallow and dig their antlers in urine-soaked soil, and then rub against tree trunks. Despite their lack of antlers, female sambar readily defend their young from most predators, which is relatively unusual among deer. When confronted by pack-hunting dholes or feral domestic dogs, a sambar lowers its head with an erect mane and lashes at the dogs. Sambar prefer to attack predators in shallow water. Several sambar may form a defensive formation, touching rumps and vocalizing loudly at the dogs. When they perceive danger, sambar stamp their feet and make a ringing call known as "pooking" or "belling".

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Sambar are herbivores, eating various grasses, foliage, fruits, leaves, water plants, herbs, buds, berries, bamboo, stems, and bark, as well as a wide range of shrubs and trees.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
year-round; most commonly September-January
PREGNANCY DURATION
9 months
BABY CARRYING
1 fawn
INDEPENDENT AGE
2 years
FEMALE NAME
doe
MALE NAME
buck, stag
BABY NAME
fawn

Sambar are polygynous, meaning that one male mates with multiple females. Males are very aggressive at the time of the breeding season. They guard their breeding territory and attract female deer by means of vocal displays and smell. There is no specific breeding season, though it most commonly takes place between 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

Population threats

Hunting and habitat encroachment are the main threats. Sambar 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

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Sambar total population size. According to the University of Michigan (Museum of Zoology), the population size of this species in India exceeds 50,000 individuals, and in Australia Sambars number more than 5,000 individuals. Overall, currently, Sambar deer are classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and their numbers today are decreasing.

Ecological niche

The main role of the sambar is dispersing seeds throughout its native range.

References

1. Sambar Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambar_deer
2. Sambar on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/41790/0

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