The Chital, also known as a spotted deer, is native to the Indian subcontinent. The Chital was first discovered in 1777, by a German naturalist Johann Christian Polycarp Erxleben.
Scientific Name of Chital or Spotted Deer is Axis axis.
The Chital is a dimorphic animal, with males possessing antlers and females lacking them. The sexual dimorphism of the spotted deer is due to males establishing breeding rights. Did you know? The antlers of the spotted deer serve many purposes, but primarily, antlers are used to prove dominance! Spotted deer are a naturally flighty animal, and they need plenty of room to run, graze, and feel safe. Male spotted deer have been known to use their antlers as weapons against keepers during mating season (also known as rut season). Extreme care needs to be exercised when handling male spotted deer during mating season to avoid injury.
As we mentioned above, the spotted deer is native to the Indian subcontinent, which means they can be found throughout India naturally. However, the spotted deer is extinct in the central and northeast areas of the country.
Chital males grow to be much heavier than the female variety of spotted deer, and grow to be between 66-165 lbs. Females are much smaller, and weigh 55–99 lbs on average. Spotted deer are also much smaller than other species of deer in comparison.
The average lifespan of the Chital is over twice as long in captivity than in the wild. In captivity, spotted deers can live for an amazing 22 years in captivity! In the wild, their lifespan is a mere 5-10 years.
Types Of Chitals
It’s widely accepted that there’s only one species of spotted deer, the A. a. axis. But a 1951 paper released makes reference to a second subspecies, A. a. ceylonensis. The validity of this claim is widely disputed and challenged by conservation specialists.
Chital Species Conservation Status
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the spotted deer as an animal of “least concern”. There are no known threats to it’s conservation status, and this due mostly to protected living areas and being afforded legal protection as a species. Laws dictate what you can and can’t do when it comes to spotted deer, and these laws have served to protect and improve the health of this species.
How Preserving The Health Of The Chital Contributes To Wildlife Conservation
Chital thrive in captivity much more than the wild. This we known to be true from the huge increase in lifespan we see when they’re captive (22 yrs), as compared to their extremely short lifespan in the wild (5-10 yrs). The Bandhavgarh National Park is proud to support the health of the spotted deer, and sincerely hope you enjoy seeing them in all their natural beauty.