Varied types .pf mammals are found in the rich lands of the Terai but none is so commonly spotted as the numerous types of deer indigenous to this place. Often confused with the antelope, deer have distinctive features that differentiate them from this other variety of the even-toed ungulates (hoofed animals).
An antelope has peramanent, unbranched horns: whereas the deer sheds and re-grows its branched antlers periodically. While still in the growing stage, these antlers are made .up of soft, fine hair and skin, making it very sensitive and susceptible to injury. Once fully grown, they become a weapon for attack and self-defense. Five species of deer can be seen frisking about in the wildlife sanctuaries of Kishanpur, Katerniaghat and Dudhwa National Park.
Swamp deer or Barasingha, the state animal of Uttar Pradesh, lives mostly on marshlands. These deer have antler with about a dozen points, hence earning the name of barasingha (bara being twelve in Hindi). Belonging to Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, this deer species is one of the most commonly spotted wild animals around the tals in Dudhwa. Jhadi Tal in Kishanpur has the highest number of barasingha, with the number sometimes even going upto 800.
Sambar is the largest Indian deer, measuring up to 150 cm till the shoulders and another 95 cm for its head and antler. Unlike the woolly coat of the barasingha, the sambar has a coarse, disheveled brown coat with a yellow or grey tinge. Females, however, are of a lighter hue. Sambar have six-pointed antlers. Rarely seen in large numbers, the male and female of the species are together only during the mating season.
Spotted deer or Chital has a beautiful white-spotted bright brownish-red coat and six-pronged antlers. These are one of the most beautiful deer pecies found in India. They are usually spotted in herds of 10-30 out of which only two to three are stags.
The Hog-deer gets its name from its hog-like appearance and mannerisms, as well as its habit of keeping its head down while running. With antlers measuring around 30-35 cm on an average, the hog-deer has short legs and a stout built. An adult hog-deer has a rich, brown coat with a yellow or reddish tinge, while their young have spotted coats. They usually roam about in herds of about twenty. Barking deer or Muntjae have a glossy chestnut coat and roam about in pairs of two or small family groups. They only come out in the open fields to graze and usually prefer to keep to the jungles. The height of an adult male barking deer is about 50 to 75 cm up to the shoulders with minuscule antlers.