ka] Cervus nippon
The sika deer is a medium-sized
deer, standing 25 to 48 inches high at the
shoulder, with a length of 59 to 74 inches and
weighing 132 to 310 pounds; males are
significantly larger than females.
Coat color ranges from grayish
or chestnut brown to reddish brown, with males
developing characteristic white spots in the
summer. The tail, which is 4 to 8 inches long, is
primarily white, with a wide black stripe above,
and males have white hairs on the rump which
stand erect during the rut.
Males typically have
four-pointed antlers that reach a length of up to
2.7 feet before being shed in April or May.
Distribution and Habitat
Native to East China, Taiwan,
the Korean Peninsula, the southern part of the
Russian Far East and Japan, sika deer have also
been introduced into parts of Europe and North
America. In both its native and introduced ranges
it inhabits woodlands and heathlands and
surrounding mountain slopes, and avoid areas with
significant snow cover that lasts more than three
or four months.
Habits and Behaviors
Sika deer are most active at
dusk, but daytime activity is not unknown. They
are typically solitary, but will come together in
small herds of up to 20 individual animals.
Females with fawns generally live apart from the
main herd in the spring and summer.
Like most deer the sika is a
good runner. It can also jump up to 26.2 feet,
and can swim across a sea strait as wide as 6
Sika deer are highly vocal,
with up to 10 individual sounds known.
Breeding season runs from
August to October, during which time dominant
males establish home territories in which they
keep small harems.
One calf (rarely twins) is born
after an eight-month gestation period. It is
weaned at 7 to 10 months, and is sexually mature
at 2.5 to 4 years; males mature later than
Sika deer live up to 15 years
in the wild.
Sika deer feed on grasses,
sedges and heather, leaves, and some fungi and
genus & species Cervus nippon
BBC: Science and Nature
Ultimate Ungulate www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Cervus_nippon.html
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