The Sika Deer (Cervus nippon) is also known as the Spotted Deer or Japanese Deer. It is common in woodlands in Japan and eastern Asia.
The Silka Deer is a medium-sized herbivore. It grazes on grass. It is a grazer. It can grow to 50-110 centimetres (20-43 inches) tall at the shoulder.
It has mahogany to black fur. The colour becomes darker in winter. The Sika Deer is one of the few deer species that does not lose its spots when it reaches maturity.
Sika stags (males) have upright antlers. Females carry a pair of distinctive black bumps on her forehead. Antlers can range from 28-45 centimetres (11-18 inches) to more than 80 centimetres (30 inches), depending on the subspecies.
The Sika Deer can be active throughout the day, although in areas with many humans, it tends to be nocturnal.
Some Sika Deer live alone while others are found in single-sex groups. The male is territorial. Territories are marked with a strong, musky odour.
The Sika Deer is highly vocal, with over 10 individual sounds, ranging from soft whistles to loud screams.
The female is pregnant for seven months, before giving birth to a single baby, called a fawn, which is nursed for up to 10 months.
The main predators of the Sika Deer are tigers, wolves and brown bears. The average lifespan is 15-18 years.
[Location of photographs: Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM