Sambar Deer
( Cervus unicolour)

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The Sambar Deer is the most widely spread deer species in the world, covering many countries in the Asian continent. It is also one of the larger members of the deer family. Some males are known to weigh up to 300 kgs and can grow to a height ranging from 135 - 150 cms at the shoulders. Their population is large and spread to almost every corner of India. They do not appear on the endangered list. The specimens found in central India appear to be larger than those found in other regions. The male members of this species have antlers that can grow to a length of 90 - 95cms, with a record finding of one that measured 127cms! These animals have a life expectancy ranging between 16 - 20 years. They are the favourite prey species of the tiger. A large sambar can feed a feed tiger for up to 4 days. Unlike the Spotted deer, which shouts an alarm and darts away at the sight of a predator, the sambar tends to alertly watch and keep giving alarm calls until the danger has passed. A reason due to which many of them fall prey for predators.

Sambars are one of the larger members of the deer family and have antlers that can grow to lengths upto 1 meter!

Their own diet consists of vegetation, mainly leaves. They have become less shy of humans due to the protection offered to them at various parks. Yet, they have a history of mainly being nocturnal animals. At Corbett N.P., a sambar deer named Sona by the locals, has adopted the attendants there as the caretakers of itself and its family.

Sambar Deer have extremely acute senses of smell and hearing

Their breeding period is mainly during the months of November and December. The gestation period is 6 months. The males by this time have shed their antlers. A new pair start growing almost immediately. It is during this period of their life cycles when they are seen less frequently. The males mostly lead solitary lives and are rarely seen associating with each other, except on some occassions during the rutting season. The sambar has extremely sharp senses of hearing and smell.

Its alarm call is taken very seriously, unlike that of the spotted or barking deer, by anyone interested in knowing the whereabouts of a predator. A repeated call is accepted as a definite indicator.

Although the Sambar deer is found in almost every corner of India, some of the best parks to sight this animal in are Kanha, Corbett, Ranthambore, Bandhavgarh, Gir, Dudhwa, Manas, Kaziranga and Sariska.

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