There are hundreds of antelopes and deer species available in different parts of the world. They beckon the wildlife enthusiasts and photographers alike. While Touriosity is committed to bringing a unique theme every issue, this time it has presented its readers with an unusual theme on mothers and babies in the animal kingdom. However, there is also some emphasis on antelopes and deer in this issue. For our readers who are interested in wildlife and photography, we thought of compiling a list of beautiful animals from the wild. The result was this Snapshot on antelopes and deer. This list also contains some species of animals that do not strictly belong to the category of antelopes and deer but look similar and have similar habits. Hence these were included. However, many more species remains to be further explored and we promise to bring a whole issue on antelopes in futures.
1. Barasingha, India, Nepal
Also called swamp deer, its antlers are different from other Indian deer species as they have more than three tines. The name literally means ‘twelve-horned’ and full grown stags may have up to 14 tines; history has recorded up to 20. Originally found throughout Indian sub-continent, it is now extinct in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Nepal has a thin population while India has a large population.
Barasingha has shoulder height of nearly 4 ft and a head-to-body length of nearly 6 ft. Its body is covered with woolly hair that is yellowish brown above but paler below, with white spots along the spine. In summer the coat becomes bright rufous-brown. Throat, belly, inside of the thighs and beneath the tail is white. Females are paler than males. On an average antlers measure up to 2.5 ft but the highest recorded one has been of 8.5 ft. A stags weighs 170 to 280 kg and females weigh 130 to 145 kg. When alarmed, they give out shrill, baying alarm calls.
It is mainly found in Assam, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and it is the state animal of the latter two states. A Barasingha was featured in Rudyard Kipling’s The Second Jungle Book.
2. Barking Deer, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, northeastern India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam
Also called the Indian muntjac or southern red muntjac, this deer species is native to South and Southeast Asia. These are highly alert creatures and are called the ‘barking deer’ due to the bark-like sound that it makes as an alarm when danger is present.
Barking deer is among the smallest deer species and has soft, short, brownish or greyish thick coat with a darker face and reddish brown limbs. Male muntjacs have short antlers measuring about 4 inch protruding from above the eyes. Females have tufts of fur and small bony knobs instead of antlers. They measure from 35 – 53 inches in length and 16 – 26 inches in height.
The animal is found in tropical and subtropical deciduous forests, grasslands, savannas and scrub forests, as also in the hilly slopes of the Himalayas up to an altitude of 3,000m. They are omnivores and apart from grass, bushes, leaves, bark, twigs, herbs, fruit, sprouts, seeds and tender shoots, they also eat bird eggs, and small, warm-blooded animals.
3. Bates’s Pygmy Antelope, Nigeria, Congo basin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda
It is the second smallest antelope species in the world and is also known as Dwarf Antelope and Pygmy Antelope. It lives in moist forest and bushlands of Central and West Africa and is also found in plantations, secondary forest, cleared areas and areas near the human habitations.
An adult Bates’ Pygmy antelope weighs about 2 to 3 kg and measure 20 to 22 inches in length. Their tail measure 1.8 to 2.0 inches. Males have horns measuring 1.5 to 2.0 inches that extend back over their head on the same plane as the face. The horns are minute, black or brown in colour, stout and ringed at the base. It has glossy dark chestnut colour on its back that darkens on the back and is lighter on the flanks. There is a sharp contrast white colour on the throat and belly.
They mainly eat leaves, buds, shoots, fungus and herbs and very limited amount of grass. Occasionally they also eat crops, especially peanut, which make them a menace for farmers. This antelope can run very fast and make a short and raspy bark when fleeing.
4. Blackbuck, India, Nepal, Pakistan
Also known as the Indian antelope Blackbucks look similar to gazelles, and are distinguished mainly by their black colour. Their lifespan is about 10 to 15 years.
Blackbucks measure up to 29 to 33 inches at the shoulder. Males weigh 20–57 kg and females weigh 20–33 kg. The males have long, ringed horns measuring about 14–30 inches long, and females occasionally have horns. The horns typically diverge forming a ‘V’-like shape. These antelopes are dark brown to black in colour with white fur on the chin, around the eyes, the underparts and the insides of the legs. The females have a lighter tone.
Blackbuck inhabits grassy plains, dry thorn and scrub lands and thinly forested areas close to perennial water sources as they drink a lot of water. Originally they were also found in Bangladesh but are currently extinct there.
In India blackbucks are mainly found in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh. The population of blackbucks have reduced over the decades and today it is listed as an endangered animal in India.
5. Bohor Reedbuck, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania and Togo
Bohor reedbuck has five subspecies. It has a yellow to grayish brown coat. Generally, the bohor reedbuck is yellower than other reedbucks. The young ones are darker than the adults and have longer hair. They have a lifespan of about 10 years.
They measure 39–53 inches in length. The males typically weigh 43–65 kg and females 35–45 kg. They have a bushy tail measuring 7.1–7.9 inches in length. The males possess a pair of stout horns measuring 9.8–13.8 inches that extend backward from the forehead and hook slightly forward.