Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Rusa unicolor (Kerr, 1792)

Species:R. unicolor
Common Names:Sambar


The Sambar is a large deer with dark brown skin and hair. The upper parts are usually grey-brown and sometimes slightly reddish, usually darker along the midline. The underparts are the same colour as or darker than the upperparts. Its head and body grows up to 2 m and the tail up to 28 cm. The tail is bushy and mainly blackish with a white base on the underside. Mature males sport a mane, and their antlers usually have three branches (tines).

Read more about the Artiodactyla order.
Read more about the Cervidae family.


The Sambar ranges from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal through Indochina, to Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.


In Singapore, Sambar is occasionally sighted in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and the vicinity of the Singapore Zoological Gardens.

Locality Map

General Biology

The Sambar is mainly confined to primary and secondary forests. Deer occasionally sighted in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve are not native animals, but probably escapees from captivity. Mainly active at night, it can also be active in the early morning and late afternoon. They are usually solitary but can sometimes be found as a pair.


Its diet includes grasses, herbs, shrubs, young leaves of woody plants and fallen fruits.

Life Cycle

A single fawn is born after a gestation period of 8 months.

Other Resources

Ecology Asia. 2013. Sambar. http://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/mammals/sambar.htm. (Accessed January 2013).


Baker, N. and K. K. P. Lim. 2008. Wild Animals of Singapore: A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes. Vertebrate Study Group, Nature Society (Singapore), 180 pp.

Chua, M.A.H. & K.K.P. Lim, 2011. Deer. Pp. 290. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

Francis, C. M., 2008. A Guide to Mammals of Southeast Asia. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd, United Kingdom, 392 pp.

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