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.



Amazing experience - great company values

We had a wonderful stay at yala camp - great accommodation / food / safari. The staff were all outstanding - all full of passion for their role to make sure we had an unforgettable experience and absolutely committed to providing an ethical product. This company provides a perfect safari experience - no plastics / sustainable / local produce / knowledgeable committed staff. An honour to be a guest and support them."

J K wrote, Traveled as a couple
December 2019

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