Monday, January 23, 2012


Rusa unicolor
Meet the Sambar, one of the most widely spread Deer species in the world... and also one of the most confusing. Sambar can be found throughout South and Southeast Asia, and they have been introduced into the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. However, they vary greatly in size depending on their specific location. This has led to a lot of taxonomic confusion, and currently you might see them refereed to as both Rusa unicolor and Cervus unicolor.

Sambar can grow to some pretty huge sizes. Males have been recorded at over 600lbs! (That is more than double the average weight of the American White-Tailed Deer, for reference) Their antlers can also grow up to a meter long!

Like many Deer, Sambar are crepuscular, meaning that they are most active during dawn and dusk. They are typically solitary, though sometimes small groups of females and their young will forage together. Males live alone, and form aggressively defended territories during the breeding season.

Sambar have adapted very well to different habitat types, and can be found in all types of forested areas, from the very wet to the very dry. The habitat variety has also allowed them to consumes many different types of vegetation. Unfortunately, their adaptability has not kept them off of the Red List. They are currently ranked under "Vulnerable," due to hunting and habitat loss through many countries in their large range.

IUCN Status : Vulnerable
Location : South and Southeast Asia
Size : Length around 80in (2m), Average weight up to 400lbs (180kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Cervidae -- Genus : Rusa -- Species : R. unicolor

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