Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Artiodactyla / Cervidae / Cervus / Species
Cervus nippon - Sika deer (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

APPEARANCE / MORPHOLOGY

LIFE STAGES / NATURAL DIET / PHYSIOLOGY

BEHAVIOUR

HABITAT & RANGE

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Japanese deer
  • Sika
  • Cerf Sika (French)
  • Sikahirsch (German)

Names for new-borns / juveniles

Calf
Names for males Stag
Names for females Hind

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General Appearance

Medium-sized deer, with white spots in rows on red-brown to yellow-brown body (summer coat), and black-bordered white rump patch - conspicuous heart-shape when alert. Branched antlers in male (B142, D30).

Similar Species

In Britain:
  • Distinguished from Cervus elaphus - Red deer and Capreolus capreolus - Western Roe deer by presence of spots on body, also by size (intermediate between red and roe).
  • Distinguished from similar sized Dama dama - Fallow deer by rump patch: both white with black dorsal border, but tail of this species (sika deer) shorter and with less distinct central dark stripe.

(B142, D30)

Sexual Dimorphism --

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

Husbandry references:

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

  • --

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Deer (Cervidae)

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  • Deer (Cervidae)

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Husbandry Information

Notes

--
Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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Appearance / Morphology

Measurement & Weight

Length Head-body length: 3.5-5.1ft/105-155cm (B144)
Height
  • Shoulder height: 2.1-3.6ft/65-110cm (B144)
  • Japanese: Stag 80cm; Formosan: stag 120cm (B158.A8.w4).
Adult weight General 55-242lbs./25-110kg (B144)
Male Japanese: 60kg; Formosan: 130kg (B158.A8.w4).
Female --
New-born weight About 3kg (B142); 3-7kg (B158.A1.w3).
Growth rate --

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Head

General
  • Antlers 0.9-2.7ft/28-81cm, maximum 8 points on each bar (B144).
  • Males only. Pedicels grow at 6 to 7 months, first antlers (generally simple spike) in second year. Rarely more than eight points (B142)

Skull: Relatively short with short pointed rostrum (B142).

Nose:

Ears

Dentition (Teeth)
  • I 0/3, C1/1, P3/3,M3/3.
  • Deciduous teeth: I1/3, C 1/1, P3/3, M0/0
  • Upper canine pear-shaped.

(B142)

Eyes --

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Legs and Tracks

--

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Tail

4-8in./10-20cm (B144). 15-20 cm (B142); 15cm (B158.A8.w4)white with variable-thickness central black line (B142).

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Coat / Pelage

Adult Female Summer: short
  • Dorsal and flanks: Chestnut-red brown to yellow-brown. Dark dorsal stripe. White spots, approximately in rows, including row either side of dorsal stripe.
  • Head: dark lines above eyes, contrasting paler area between them (B142)
  • Rump patch: white, heart shaped, black border dorsal and sides, partially divided by tail white with variable black central line.
  • Ventral: Fawn, with inguinal region white.
  • Hocks: white hairs on hock glands

Winter: thicker. 

  • Dark grey-brown to black, spots faint or absent.

(B142, B158.A8.w4)

Variations (If present) Stag in rut and winter: thick dark mane.

(B142, B158.A8.w4)

Moult
  • Spring moult: starts May, finished by July.
  • Winter coat: development starts September, finished early November.

(B142).

New-born / Juvenile
  • Dark chocolate brown to yellow brown, with white spots. Rump patch small, buff. 
  • Moult: 2-3 months, inconspicuous. 
  • Winter coat: develops October-November 

(B142).

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Neonate (New-born) Characteristics

Hair coat present at birth. On feet and suckling shortly after birth.

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Detailed Anatomy Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

  • Reproductive: Udder has four teats (B142).
  • Scent glands:
  • Hocks - distinct white metatarsal glands. 
  • Pre-orbital (lachrymal) glands. 
  • Tail glandular 
  • (B142).

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Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Reproductive Stages

Breeding Season
  • Rut begins end September/early October (B142); September to October (B158.A1.w3)
Oestrus / Ovulation
  • Seasonally polyoestrous. 
  • Oestrus cycle 21 days.

(B142, B158.A1.w3)

Gestation / Pregnancy
Parturition / Birth
  • Mainly early May to late June, occasionally to October (B142); June (B158.A1.w3)
Neonatal development --
Litter size
Time between Litters / Litters per year
  • One per year (B142).
Lactation / Milk Production
Sexual Maturity
  • 18-24 months (B144).
  • Females: in second year, occasionally in first year (B142).
  • 16 months (B158.A1.w3)
Longevity --

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Natural Diet

  • Grasses, leaves, heather, ivy, holly, acorns, fungi.

(B142, B144)

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Detailed Physiology Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

Temperature --
Pulse --
Respiration --
Faeces --
Haematology / Biochemistry --
Chromosomes 2n = 64-68; FNa = 68 (B142)
Other Antlers cast March/April, antlers cleaned (velvet shed) August/September (B158.A1.w3)

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Opportunistic feeders (B142)

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Parental Behaviour

--

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Social Behaviour / Territoriality

Intra-specific
  • Gregarious, forming small or medium-sized groups
  • Males and females separate for much of the year
  • Hind groups, with matriarch and total 2-8 animals, sometimes forming larger herds (40-50).
  • Juvenile stags wander.
  • Stags in rut gather harem.

(B142, B143 B144)

Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Polygynous (B142).

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Predation in Wild

Wolves (B144)

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Activity Patterns

  • Walk and trot.
  • Pronk when alarmed.
  • Able to swim well.

(B142)

Circadian
  • Active day and night.
  • Crepuscular activity peaks, particularly if human disturbance.

(B142)

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Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

  • Deciduous and mixed woodlands.
  • Dense woodlands, scrubby vegetation. Dense thickets/undergrowth preferred, and reach highest densities if mixture of dense woodland, open fields and plentiful woodland edge.

(B142, B143, B144).

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Nests / Burrows / Shelters

--

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Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal
  • Eastern Asia - Taiwan, eastern China, Manchuria, Korea, far-eastern Russia, Vietnam, Japan.(B142, B143)
  • South-eastern Siberia to eastern China, Taiwan and Japan (B51)
Occasional and Accidental --
Introduced

Europe (Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Britain, Ireland), Caucasus, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, Pacific Islands. (B51, B142, B143)

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

Superspecies with many subspecies (B143).

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)
  • Endangered (B144)

  • No conservation status in Europe (B143)

  • In Britain: introduced and locally common. Pre-breeding population estimate of about 11,500, including less than 2,500 in England, 9000 in Scotland, 0 in Wales; does not include deer park population of about 1,500. Population estimate considered likely to be inaccurate by no more than 25% in either direction (B221).

General Legislation
CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Hybridisation with Cervus elaphus - Red deer may threaten genetic purity of British populations (B221).
Captive Populations  
Trade  

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