Friday, April 5, 2019

Sri Lankan Axis Deer

I've always known spotted deer from India as axis deer. In a visit to Sri Lanka these deer were always referred to as spotted deer. The Wikipedia entry refers to them as chital. They were beautiful in their native range in Sri Lanka and I was always happy to see them. 
Axis deer in Udawalawe NP.
The axis deer (Axis axis) is found in all of India, all of Sri Lanka and portions of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. There is a question as to whether there are two subspecies, with the Sri Lanka version treated as a subspecies (A.a. ceylonensis). For purposes of this blog, I'm treating it as a subspecies. 
Hidden in Yala NP
Yala NP
The upper parts are golden to rufus, covered in white spots. The abdomen, rump, throat, insides of legs, ears and tail are all white. A black stripe runs along the spine. Males are larger than females and only males have antlers which are shed each year. 
In Bundala NP
We spotted a large herd of axis deer in Udawalawe NP, saw lots of them in Yala NP and a few in Bundala NP. 
A range map from Wikipedia. 

1 comment:

  1. These deer look so dainty and delicate--until you spot a male with his spectacular antlers that double his size.