Thursday, May 16, 2019

Sri Lankan Sambar Deer

The sambar deer (Rusa unicolor) is found in the Indian Subcontinent, southern China and Southeast Asia. Their appearance and size vary widely. Those in the western part of the range tend to be larger than those in the east and males are larger than females. Only moose and elk get larger. Only the males have antlers and the antlers only have three tines, reaching about 43 inches in length. They drop the antlers annually. The coat can be from yellowish brown to dark gray and is usually uniform in color. They have a small but dense mane which is more prominent in males. The tail is relatively long and is black above with a whitish underside. 
Sri Lankan sambar deer in Yala NP.
There are eight subspecies of sambar and we saw the nominate subspecies (R. u. unicolor) which is found in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and known as the Sri Lankan sambar deer or Indian sambar deer. It is one of the largest deer species both in antler size and body proportions. There are large herds of them in Horton Plains National Park, in the highlands, which we did not visit. So when we saw them in Yala National Park, Sanjay was quite excited. 
A youngster showing off its tail.
We saw one the first day, I believe Sanjay said it was a male that had shed its antlers. It was in a small lake and we did not get a good view of it. 
Male the first day in Yala NP.
The second day in Yala we encountered a doe and her fawn in the middle of a dirt road, mucking around in some mud. We got to watch them about ten minutes. 

1 comment:

  1. They have heavier heads, kind of like moose. These aren't your dainty Bambi-style deer.