The name hog deer arises from its habit of crushing through the under growth with its head down like a wild pig or running through the forest with its head held low rather than leaping over obstacles like other deers. It is also known by Nepali name’ Laguna’.
Hog deer is in cool rest under the bushes in Bardia National Park.
Hog deer is a small, low, heavily built and compact animal, which reaches a shoulder height approximately 60-75 cm (2-2.5 ft), Counted amongest the smallest deer of the world, it weights somewhere between 36-50 kg ( 79-110 lb). Where as the body length ranges between 105-115 cm ( 3.5-3.8 ft) and tail length is 20 cm (8 inch). The coat is an ochre-brown colour although adult males generally darken with age. The young are spotted with white freckles and reminiscent faint spots may be visible in the summer coat of adults. There is a darker band running down the spine. Build as a creeper, the hog deer has relatively short legs and a stocky figure which is lower in the front than the back. The face is short and wedge shaped. A male hog deer has beautiful antlers, with three points formation, mounted on short pedicels on the forehead. Shed is spring season, these antlers can grow to an average length of 3 cm, which may grow up to maximum 60 cm / 24 inches in length. While running, the tail of a hog deer gets erect, revealing the white underside.
The hog deer is a solitary animal, rarely can be seen in a groups of any number. Females may be seen with their young and males may be seen with females during the rutting period. They spend most of time hidden in the thick vegetation, emerging only during the hours of feeding time, various grasses, plants and riverside vegetation. It is rare to see more than 3 or 4 individuals together.
They normally rest during the hotter part of the day and move about at dawn or dusk. They may become nocturnal in the summer, or when molested by people.
Hog deer are gregarious only when conditions are favourable and do not form a “unit” at these times, fleeing in different directions rather than in a herd. When frightened, they emit a whistling alarm call or a warning bark and flee to dense vegetation. When fleeing, they tend to change into dense vegetation with their head low, while other species of deer would tend to leap over any obstacle. This strange behaviour is more seminiscent of pigs and may also be a reason for its name.
Hog deer have their own home ranges, which widely vary in size, but average aboout 70 hectares. Males are aggressive and may become territorial at low population densities, marking the boundaries with glandular secretions. During the rut, males gather in open meadows, pawing the ground during antagonistc encounters. Harems are not created, with males courting and defending a single female at any given time. Unlike many other deer species, hog deer do not have rutting call.
Hog deer communicate with a variety of vocal calls, hoof stamping, and also by a series of displays and scent marking.
Hog Deer is licking its Back, to feel cool.
They inhabit grassy lowland plains and swampy areas. It doesn’t like thick woodland and forest area. Rather it prefers to live in with good levels of cover near to rivers and marshland areas. These animals are generally found in riverine habitats, marshes and swampy with tall grasses. They can also be seen in the alluvial grass plains.
The diets of a hog deer comprises primarily of grass, plants, river beds etc.
Mating period varies depending uopn the region, usually Sept-Oct and calving in Jan-April, One fawn per birth is usual. The gestation period is of 8 months. When the mating period approaches, male deer gather in the open and indulge in antagonistic encounters. At a particular point of time, a male fights over a single female only. Hog deer do not give mating calls like other.
When they are undistributed they form small herds, otherwise they are mainly solitary.