Sambar Deer

Sambar Deer             Rusa unicolor

Type of Animal:

Tropical/subtropical rainforest, tropical/subtropical dry forest, tropical/subtropical deciduous forest, subtropical/tropical mixed forest, pine forest, oak forest, evergreen/semi-evergreen forest, hill forest, forest edge, alpine woodland, woodlands, mountain forest, swamp forest, open forest and woodland, scrub forest, agricultural areas, temperate forest, grassland

India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, much of S.E. Asia, S.E. China, S. slopes of Himalayas, Taiwan, Malaysia, Borneo, & Sumatra. Introduced to Australia, New Zealand, Cape province of S. Africa, St. Vincent, & parts of Florida, Texas, & California.

Like most deer, only male has antlers, which are shed yearly. Antlers hardest during rut (breeding season) becoming more velvety after & drop in April & May. Males have more prominent mane. Coat color can range from yellowish-brown to dark grey, mostly brownish. Tail usually black w/ whitish underside. Females smaller than males. Fawns more reddish.

Grasses, foliage, browse, water plants, fruit, shrubs, trees, leaves, herbs, buds, sprigs, bamboo, wood, bark, stems, berries

Status in Wild:
Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & breeding centers. Bred on farms for meat, velvet, & antlers.
Most stags solitary, does & fawns found in herds of 4-8 animals, sometimes accompanied by a stag.

Additional Info:


Male-290-770 lbs
Female-240-500 lbs
Young-66-108 lbs

8 months

Life Span:
12 years in wild, up to 20 years in captivity

Male-4.5 ft
Female-3.5 ft

Body Length:
Male-5.5-8 ft
Female-5-6 ft

Tail Length:
Male-10.92 in
Female-9.72 in

Main predators in native range are tigers, leopards, lions, dholes, crocodiles, pythons, clouded leopards, & bears. In Australia, main predators are dingoes & crocodiles. In U.S, main predators are coyotes, alligators, wolves, bears, & mountain lions/pumas/cougars w/ bobcats preying on fawns. In parts of Florida, nonnative pythons also take their toll. Feral dogs key predators throughout range.

While populations have increased in introduced range (especially in Australia & New Zealand becoming threat to native vegetation. Their populations in other introduced areas haven’t had as many negative impacts), they’re declining in native range due to habitat loss, hunting for meat/antlers/hide/sport/medicinal purposes, logging/deforestation, & persecution as crop pests.

During rut, stags often have distinct smell.

When in danger, they give repetitive honking alarm call.

Fun Fact(s):
Stags highly aggressive during rut.

They’ve hybridized w/ other deer species, such as Rusa, Red Deer, & Sika Deer producing fertile hybrids.

When marking territory during rut, stags have been known to spray urine in their face.

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