Axis deer

Axis deer

Axis axis

Common name:

Axis deer

Scientific name:

Axis axis

Alternative common names:


Axis deer are semi-nocturnal, usually feeding for four hours after sunrise. Thereafter they seek out water and rest in the shade during the midday heat, returning to feed a few hours before sunset. They do not attempt to establish territories.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?


What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 2.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Free State and Eastern Cape.

How does it spread?

By escaping from their range.

Why is it a problem?

Axis deer damage crops, pastures and forestry plantations and compete with livestock for pasture. They can alter the structural composition of endangered ecological communities. Because deer are large animals, they are capable of damaging indigenous vegetation by browsing and trampling understorey and seedling plants, and by ringbarking young trees.

What does it look like?

Description: The axis deer has a rusty red to dark brown coat with permanent white spots appearing as broken lines along the body. Other distinguishing features is its prominent white throat and large tail. Adult stags stand up to 95cm at the shoulder, while hinds are smaller. Adult stags weigh 75–100kg. Stags have three tined antlers on a long, upright beam 55–70cm long.

Habitat: Lowland plains and lower hills.

Breeding: Axis deer breed in April or May and have a gestation of about 7.5 months. They usually have two fawns but one or three is not uncommon. The number of fawns produced as well as the mating season may vary for deer in captivity; only one fawn is usually produced and mating may take place from May to August. First pregnancies usually occur between the ages of 14-17 months. The female usually maintains nursing until the fawn can safely roam with the herd.

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