Return to Artiodactyla
Click on the pictures above for a larger view of the photographs
Body Length: 105-115 cm / 3.5-3.8 ft.
Shoulder Height: 60-75 cm / 2-2.5 ft.
Tail Length: 20 cm / 8 in.
Weight: 36-50 kg / 79-110 lb.
The coat is an ochre-brown colour, although adult males generally darken with age. The young are spotted with white freckles, and reminiscent faint spots may be visible in the summer coat of adults. There is a darker band running down the spine. Built as a creeper, the hog deer has relatively short legs and a stocky figure which is lower in the front than the back. The face is short and wedge-shaped. Males bear three-tined antlers, mounted on short pedicels on the forehead, which may grow up to 60 cm / 24 inches in length.
Ontogeny and Reproduction
Gestation Period: 180 days.
Young per Birth: 1, rarely 2
Weaning: At about 6 months.
Sexual Maturity: At 8-12 months.
Life span: Up to 20 years.
The mating season peaks from September to December depending on the region.
Ecology and Behavior
The term 'hog deer' is derived from this deer's habit of running through the forest with its head held low, ducking under obstacles in the manner of a wild pig, rather than leaping over them like most deer. Cover is taken as soon as it is feasible. During flight, the tail is held erect, showing the white underside. Hog deer are gregarious only when conditions are favourable and do not form a "unit" at these times, fleeing in different directions rather than in a herd. When alarmed, hog deer make a whistling vocalization or a warning bark. Home ranges vary widely in size, but average about 70 hectares. Males are aggressive, and may become territorial at low population densities, marking the boundaries with glandular secretions. During the rut, males gather in open meadows, pawing the ground during antagonistic encounters. Harems are not created, with males courting and defending a single female at any given time. Unlike many other deer species, hog deer do not have a rutting call. Population densities may be as low as 0.1 animals per square kilometer in riverine valleys, rising to over 19 individuals per square kilometer in grassy floodplains.
Family group: Essentially solitary, although temporary groups of up to 40 animals have been seen in primary feeding areas. The main social group is a female and her fawn.
Diet: Leaves, grasses.
Forests, clearings, and grasslands in northern India and southeast Asia.
Range Map (Redrawn from Whitehead, 1993)
While as a species the hog deer is not on the IUCN's 1996 Red List, A. p. porcinus is considered a low risk, conservation dependent subspecies, while there is not sufficient data to assess the status of A. p. annamiticus.
The name 'hog deer' may come from this deer's squat frame and pig-like manner of moving through the forest. Axis (Latin) is said to be Pliny's name for the chital, though some records show it as "an unknown wild animal in India". Porcus (Latin) a hog; -inus (Latin) suffix meaning like.
Geist, V. 1998. Three-pronged Old World deer. In Deer of the World: Their Evolution, Behaviour, and Ecology. By Valerius Geist. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1998. pp. 55-80.
Kurt, F. 1990. Axis deer (Genus Axis). In Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. Edited by S. P. Parker. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 148-151.
Nowak, R. M. [editor]. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World (Fifth Edition). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Whitehead, K. G. 1993. The Whitehead Encyclopedia of Deer. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, Inc.
Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder [editors]. 1993. Mammal Species of the World (Second Edition). Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. Available online at http://nmnhwww.si.edu/msw/
Return to Artiodactyla
© Brent Huffman, www.ultimateungulate.com