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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sika Deer


It is very pleasant to see a wild animal.

Back in Japan, I used to go into the woods, mountains and wetlands whenever I could. I have seen quite many different wild animals - black bears, hares, Masked-palm civets, raccoon dogs, foxes, etc., but the one I had most opportunities to encounter was deer.

In Winter, I would see some groups of deer struggling to find food to last till Spring, and occasionally would find skinny, dead ones half covered in snow.
Spring to early Summer was a wonderful time to see them. Young ones jumping and running freely on the clearing in the woods, most of them looked so healthy and vibrant. Late Autumn afternoon would be a great time to sit by the lake alone, quietly. I always admired the long, somewhat sad sounding calls of male deer. They echoes throughout the mountains. On one occasion, while I was sitting alone by the water listening to a distant call, a group of female deer walked right out of the woods and started feeding on the clearing not far from me. There was me, looking at the sky getting darker and feeling freezing, could not move at all until they dessapeared. Who could disturb them? They looked so content and trusting.

Here's a little information about these deer. If you are interested in more information, visit

Sika Deer (Cervus nippon)

Head & Body Length- 110 to 166 cm
Shoulder Height- 74 to 95
Tail Length- 10 to 15 cm
Weight- 40 to 70 kg

Physical Description
The Sika deer is a rather elegant looking animal. They have strong solid bodies which are carried on long slender legs. The head is small and is carried by a short but bulky neck. The Sika deer is similar in stature to the Red Deer, but is slightly smaller in size.

There can be considerable variation in the colour of the coat. But typically during the summer animals have a dark chestnut brown colour upper coat, this is marked with 7 or 8 rows of white spots. The undersides and lower neck and throat are white in colour. During the winter the coat is longer and thicker, the coat becomes darker and the spots are not as clearly visible. The winter coat is moulted in early spring in April or May and regrows again in the late Autumn.

Both sexes have a distinctive large white rump patch, which is surrounded by a rim of black fur. This can be puffed out to signal when danger is near. On the head there are white markings on the chin and lips. The insides of the ears are white, but there is also a large black 'thumbprint' marking that is distinctive in this species. Sika Deer have a remarkable whistle like call, and can often be heard whistling softly to each other.

Males grow antlers for use in the autumn breeding season. Fully-grown males grow antlers which have a total of 8 tines. The antlers are usually a pale brown or even a white colour. The antlers are lost each spring, but new ones begin to grow immediately. Younger males may not grow a full complement of antlers until they reach maturity.

1 comment:

Alex Mcone said...

Its always spellbinding isnt it ? When you have that rare moment with nature ?