The Axis Deer (Axis axis), which is sometimes called the Chital Deer or Spotted Deer is a beautiful species of deer native to India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.
Today the Axis Deer can be found in many countries around the world. It is an adaptable deer that is prized by hunters, and as such, it has been imported and introduced in many locations including Hawaii and Texas in the United States, and in countries such as Australia and Croatia.
Axis Deer Size & Measurements
- Head-Body Length – 110 to 140 cm
- Shoulder height – 95 cm
- Tail length – 20 to 30 cm
- Weight – 75 to 100 kg
What Does the Axis Deer Look Like?
Axis Deer are also commonly known as Chital Deer or simply as the Spotted Deer.
It is a large species of deer, which has a particularly elegant and charming appearance. Axis deer are relatively high legged, with thick necks and long heads.
Males are larger in size than the females and have thicker necks and chests. Males are darker in color, especially around the head and face, and this darkening becomes more pronounced with age.
The coat of the Axis axis is distinctive. In most deer it is a rich dark brown color with numerous dramatic white spots running in rows along the deer’s body to its flanks. There is also a dark black stripe that runs down the spine.
The under parts, insides of the legs, and the lower throat are white. The nose and eyes are dark in color; the eyelashes are long and especially noticeable on this deer.
The muzzle and face is often darker in color than the body, and sometimes the Chital Deer’s face has black markings.
The tail of the Axis Deer is long and has a white underside.
Only the males carry antlers. These grow in a lyre like shape and can be up to 76 cm long. Typically the Axis Deer’s antlers have only three tines each, meaning that is total the antlers have 6 tines, but the rack is still quite impressive.
The antlers are carried low, and have a strong front prong; the backwards-pointing prong is long and ends in a fork.
The antlers are usually shed annually, but because this is a tropical living species, in its native climate there is no specific season in which they are lost.
Distribution & Preferred Habitat
Axis Deer occur throughout the Indian subcontinent and the island of Sri Lanka. They are abundant in India and one of the most common species of deer found there.
They have also been introduced into a number of European countries, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.
In Europe numbers are small, mainly because they are not particularly hardy and suffer in the cold winters that occur there.
Large numbers of Chital Deer are kept in the United States, especially in Texas, where they are used on hunting ranches.