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Delicately spotted - the Ceylon Spotted Deer

Yala National Park

Where to find them

The Ceylon spotted deer could be found grazing in grassy lands and by the shade of the forest cover during the day as an escape from the heat. The deer are predominantly found in scrubs of the low drylands throughout the island including the jungles of Yala, kumana, Wilpattu, Wasgamuwa and Udawalawe. This beautiful capture of two spotted deer locking horns was taken by Mindaka Mahela, our inhouse naturalist and photographer at the Yala National Park.

In the wild, spotted deer bucks can be found in abundance throughout the year with hardened antlers, ready to rut. Rutting as it is often called, is the mating season for the male deer. The reproductive cycle of each deer in a herd is not synchronized, unlike a few other animals found in the wild. Therefore, throughout the year there would be a few bucks who are coming out to rut whilst there may be a few other bucks who are going out of rut or sometimes even in non-breeding conditions. Rutting males vocalize through their bugle like below and both genders have their alarm calls or barks as a calling. 

Fun facts about the Ceylon Spotted Deer

It is observed that even doe’s, experience non-synchronized estrous cycles, with each cycle lasting for about 3 weeks. Bucks do not retain harems of does, but instead mate with does in each herd as they become receptive. It was also observed that gestation lasts for about 210 to 238 days and typically, one fawn is produced during pregnancy and after giving birth, females would mate once again during mating season. 

Spotted fawns begin eating green foliage by the age of five and a half weeks, but weaning is delayed until they reach about four to six months of age. Permanent dentition only happens after two and a half to three years of age whilst they reach adolescence for females at age six whilst males would reach adolescence at around four to five years of age. 

Lesser known facts

The natural lifespan of a deer would be between nine to thirteen years, although zoo animals tend to live until they are around eighteen to twenty two years. Spotted deer are sociable creatures and found in a herd ranging from a few to a hundred or even more. The leader of this herd is usually an old and experienced doe whilst adult males are normally found living with herds of young and old animals of both genders.




Much more than just a great place to stay

"Thanks to our guide Avinka we had five great safaris staying four nights just after reopening this February. The staff made us feel so very welcome during the entire stay.

The safaries are just wonderful, and having a great guide in your vehicle makes a big difference. Avinka can spot animals you would never see and we were even lucky enough to sight leopards on the trees, close to our vehicle, and also running through the field. The wildlife is so exciting that you will have a great experience even if you don‘t see any leopards. We also had a great driver, which is essential if you drive through difficult territory. You are being taken care of the entire time, so even for those who do safaris for the first time, you will always feel safe.

The camp itself is very comfortable, you get everything you can think of, and on top of the great food being served with so much attention and friendliness. You also get wonderful vegetarian and vegan options. They put on bonfires at night, which makes it unforgettable.
When booking and making plans, you get great support from the headquarters, even if it gets difficult since you have to change your plans.
The best thing what can happen to you at the end of a vacation is when you are a bit sad to leave the place, having experienced something to remember forever, and the team does everything for this to happen. Thank you so much"

Axel S wrote, Traveled with family
January 2021

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