Common deer species in India

More than one-fifth of India’s landmass is covered in forests. The most common large mammals that you see in the India forests are deer. Deer are hoofed mammals that are found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. The following are some of the common deer species found in India. Let’s read.

Common deer species in India

Chital/spotted deer/axis deer

Chital deer

The most prevalent deer species in India is Chital. It is also known as spotted deer or axis deer. These deer are easily identifiable through their white spots on golden brown upper body.

Chital deer are found in most Indian forests except for extreme north and west of India. These deer are even seen in some rural and semi-urban areas. Large males can weigh up to 90 kg while large females weigh up to 60 kg. Only male Chitals have antlers.

  • Scientific name – Axis axis

Sambar deer

Sambar deer

Among all the deer species in India, Sambar deer is the largest. Males are bulky and have huge antlers. The fur is brownish in colour. Females have a lighter fur and they do not have antlers. Large male Sambar deer can weigh in excess of 300 kilograms.

A male Sambar deer with mane and antlers

The best places to see Sambar deer in India are the forests of central India and the state of Assam.

  • Scientific name – Rusa unicolor

Barasingha (Swamp deer)

A female Barasingha with her fawn

Barasinghas look a bit like Sambar deer but they are smaller. Both Barasingha and Sambar deer can have manes around their neck. The fur of Barasingha is yellowish brown. Large males can weigh over 250 kg. Females are smaller, paler, and do not have antlers.

The best places to see Barasingha in India are Dudhwa National Park, Kanha National Park, and Pilibhit Tiger reserve.

  • Scientific name – Rucervus duvaucelii

(Also read: Current Tiger population in India | Tiger conservation in India)

Indian hog deer

Male hog deer

Indian hog deer is a small sized deer found in India in north, east, and northeastern regions. Adults weigh between 20-50 kilograms. These deer are named hog deer because of the way they walk, like a hog.

A female

The fur of this species is dark brown that may change to reddish brown in the summer. Older individuals have lighter face.

  • Scientific name – Axis porcinus

Barking deer/Indian muntjac

Indian muntjac

Indian muntjac is a small sized deer species found in most forests of India. Some researchers think that there are more than 1 species of muntjac in India. The fur of these deer is reddish brown and the male antlers are very small.

These deer make a barking sound while communicating hence named barking deer.

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