A large spotted deer living in small groups in the woodlands of India and Sri Lanka.
Standing 91cm at the shoulder, with antlers up to 76cm long and weighing 86kg.
A large deer, with a reddish fawn coat spotted with white and white underparts. The antlers curve in a lyre shape, with a up to three points on each antler.
India and Sri Lanka, introduced to Australia.
Forest edge and woodland.
Grasses and browsed vegetation.
Chital live in groups of 10-30 individuals, made up of females and their young accompanied by one or two stags. The groups can form much larger herds. They are active in the morning and evening, and during the night, resting for the heat of the day.
During the breeding season (which varies across India), males rut, bellowing and fighting to defend small harems of females with which they mate. Gestation is 210-225 days, after which a single fawn is born. Weaning is at 6 months, and sexual maturity is reached at 12-14 months.
Not currently threatened.
The first artiodactyls (also called the 'even-toed ungulates') were present in the Eocene forests. The deer are probably descended from small animals like the chevrotains which browse and eat fallen fruit in forests. Like the chevrotains, deer use fermentation in their gut to digest plant material more efficiently - called rumination. As the forests began to open up in the Oligocene, ancestors of deer grew larger and browsed on the vegetation or grazed the new grass. They probably also formed herds for safety against predators. In the Miocene, the first horned deer appeared, with the males having horns to fight rather than using their canine teeth (as the musk deer and a few others still do).