Barking Deer / Kakad / Muntjac
( Muntiacus muntjac )

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This shy and elusive member of the deer family is spread across all the dense jungles of India. It has been named after its call, which bears a striking resemblance to the bark of dog. These animals grow to a height of 50 - 75 cms and weigh 20 -30 kgs. They have a life expectancy of between 20 - 30 years. They mostly live in solitude and are only very rarely seen in numbers exceeding two. Due to their low height and small stature, their main diet consists of grass and fallen fruits. They rarely venture out into open grasslands and are mostly seen feeding near the edge of dense forests. They can also be frequently seen at salt licks like the one shown in the picture below. They are mostly diurnal in habit but it is close to impossible to see them at night due to their dense habitat areas. Their alarm call, unless endlessly repeated, is not taken seriously as an indication of the presence of a predator. They are easily startled by any movement.

Barking Deer are rarely seen in open grasslands and are most frequently sighted at the edge of dense jungles

A definite identification mark to recognise a barking deer is from the two raised dark ridges on the forehead that extend into its antlers.

Barking Deer are often seen at salt licks

A unique trait of the Barking deer is that, unlike other members of the deer family, they possess a pair of antlers as well as overgrown canines known as tushes. Both these are used as weapons in combat but the tushes are used more effectively and frequently.

They are commonly found across the country and have fortunately not yet found their name on the endangered list.

Although the Barking deer is found in almost every corner of India, some of the parks in which we have regularly sighted this animal are Corbett, Bandhavgarh and Sariska.

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