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Water Deer - Asia | Online Record Book Preview


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Water Deer - Species Detail

AKA: Korean Water Deer Gold: 5" Gold (Bow): 0"
Endangered: Silver: 0" Silver (Bow): 0"
Bronze: 0" Bronze (Bow): 0"
Hydropotes inermis

Ciervo acuatico (Sp), Wasserreh (G), Hydropote (F). Inermis is Latin for unarmed, alluding to this animal's lack of antlers. Sometimes called Chinese river deer.

DESCRIPTION (male) Shoulder height 18-22 inches (46-56 cm). Weight 20-33 pounds (9-15 kg). The female is slightly smaller.

A small deer that does not grow antlers; however, the upper canine teeth of the male are greatly elongated, forming tusks that protrude noticeably from the lips. Females have very short canine teeth. The summer coat is uniformly yellowish-brown, turning dull brown flecked with gray in winter. Underparts are white. Hair of the winter coat is thick, coarse and tends to be loose. Ears are large and broad, tail is very short. Both sexes have small inguinal (groin) glands, the only deer to have such glands.

BEHAVIOR Solitary or in pairs. Territorial. The rut takes place in winter with the fawns born May or June, usually twins, but 3-4 are common and as many as six have been recorded. Feeds mainly on grasses. The alarm call is a harsh bark. Males also whistle during the rut. When disturbed, it runs off with a series of leaps, much like a rabbit.

HABITAT Grassy and brushy swamps and wetlands.

DISTRIBUTION At one time water deer occurred throughout the wetlands of eastern China from Guangdong to Liaoning, and in all of Korea, but much habitat has been lost in recent years. Now found in most of the central and eastern river valleys in China between latitudes 28-35°N and east of about longitude 111°E, and in the lower reaches of all large Korean rivers except those in the northeast.

Outside Asia, the Chinese subspecies has been introduced in England and France.

TAXONOMIC NOTES Two subspecies are listed: Chinese water deer (H. i. inermis) of southeastern China, and Korean water deer (H. i. agyropus) of Korea and adjacent parts of Liaoning and Jilin provinces in China. They are similar and the boundary between them is uncertain. We do not separate them.

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The Water Deer currently has 2 Entries listed in the SCI Record Book!

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