Swamp Deer - Barasingha (Cervus Duvauceli)
As the name indicates, this species of
deer is well adapted to swampy grasslands. and this is exactly the
reason for its extinction. In the last couple of centuries, the
habitat of the swamp deer has been zealously converted into
agricultural land by man, thereby adversely affecting its population.
Today, there are only about 4000 of them believed to be living on the
¤ Deer Got Its Name From
The average swamp deer measures 75cm till the shoulder, and can weigh
as much as 180kg. It has twelve times on its horns that can
collectively measure more than 100cm in length. This is the reason the
animal is called Barasingha in Hindi (bara means twelve, singha is
horn). The name is so popular among Indians that every horned deer is
wrongly called barasinghaThe coat of the barasingha is slightly
woolly. Its colour ranges from dark brown to pale yellow, which
camouflages the herd in the tall elephant grasses of the region. There
are two sub-species of the swamp deer. The flat-hoofed deer found in
Kanha, which has adapted well to the grassland, and the ones living on
the wetlands of Dudhwa.
¤ Distinct Behaviours
Just like the other deer species, the swamp deer also displays some
interesting mating behaviour. It is non-territorial in behaviour, and
dominance is proved through an exhibition of strength. There is hardly
a serious conflict between the adult males. They engage in mock fights
rather than actually locking horns, and walk with a stiff gait while
Intriguingly, during the rutting season, the male swamp deer
decorates its antlers with grass. Wallowing in the mud and lifting its
head to emit hoarse, inviting mating calls, is yet another interesting
rutting behaviour. With the end of the mating season, the aggressive
antlers are shed. The gestation period is six months and the litter
comprises of one calf.
¤ Best Place To Sight
Dudhwa, Corbett, Kanha and Manas.