Although once plentiful throughout its native range, A. porcinus faces serious decline, especially in Pakistan and surrounding areas due to habitat destruction and hunting pressure. As a result of human control over the Indus River flood, a large part of the natural habitat of A. porcinus is drying out.
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
No conservations efforts are underway.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered
In Hawaii, A. porcinus populations have multiplied and spread and are blamed for ecological damage.
Recently, A. porcinus has become a sought after source of venison particularly in the United States. The meat was judged best tasting wild game meat by the Exotic Wildlife Association and is considered fat free (contains less than 1% fat). Commercialized hunting of A.porcinus is also important to many, both in its native and introduced ranges.
Positive Impacts: food ; ecotourism
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds
Hog deer feed nocturnally. They both graze and browse, but seem to prefer grazing. Typical foods include grasses, leaves, and occasionally fruit.
Foods commonly eaten include: Saccharum spontaneum (wild cane), Saccharum munja, Tamarix dioica, Populus euphratica and Zizyphus jujuba.
Plant Foods: leaves; fruit
Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore )
Axis porcinus has a native geographic range throughout India, including the Himalayan foothill zone and Southeast Asia, including Burma and Thailand. The majority inhabits the Indus River Forest Reserves of Sindh. Humans have introduced free-ranging populations of A. porcinus in Sri Lanka, Australia (specifically the coastal regions of south and east Gippsland), and the United States, including Texas, Florida, and Hawaii.
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Introduced ); palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native ); australian (Introduced )
Axis porcinus appears to prefer dense forests; however, they are often observed in clearings, grasslands and occasionally wet grasslands. This variation is usually associated with time of year and food distribution.
Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical
Terrestrial Biomes: forest
Hog deer live 10-20 years both in captivity and in the wild, although the averages differ.
Status: wild: 20 years.
Status: captivity: 20 years.
Status: wild: 10 years.
Status: captivity: 17 years.
Status: captivity: 20.0 years.
Built for creeping/bush-hugging, A. porcinus is a relatively small yet powerful cervid, with a stocky, muscular body. The limbs are noticeably short and delicate; the hindlimbs are longer than the forelimbs, raising the rump to a height greater than that of the shoulders. The face is short and wedge shaped.
Adult A. porcinus have pelage that is coarse and the overall coloration is a dark olive brown; however, the guard hairs have white tips. Fawns are born with a pale sandy-yellow color and with cream colored horizontally distributed spots along their flanks. At approximately six months this coloration gradually gives way to the adult coloration. Often, in the summer, the coat of an adult A. porcinus changes to reveal spots that are distributed such as those found on the fawn. The rhinarium is always naked and brown. One distinctive feature of A. porcinus is the unusually large round ears that are fringed with white hairs. Also, the tail is particularly bushy due to long hairs that lie in a dorso-ventral pattern.
This species exhibits sexual dimorphism. The females are slightly smaller than males and lack antlers. The males have noticeably thick muscular necks. They also have antlers that tend to be small and unimpressive compared to other members of the genus Axis as well as the entire Family Cervidae. Typically the antlers are three-tined; however, extra points are not uncommon. The antlers are covered in velvet for much of the year and project from conspicuous hairy pedicles.
Range mass: 36 to 50 kg.
Range length: 125 to 135 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Hog deer are capable swimmers and often enter the water when threatened. If water is not available, they run, with a trotting gait, with their head held low, instead of leaping like other cervids (this, along with the animal's coloration, accounts for its common name). Another anti-predator adaptation is interspecies signaling. When threatened, they raise their tail to expose white hairs, alerting others to danger. Also, A. porcinus makes warning barks.
During the breeding season, male A. porcinus are extremely aggressive, frequently challenging one another. Typically, challenges do not result in any physical harm. They are a test of strength and endurance where two males lower their heads, interlock antlers and push until one animal surrenders. Males mate with as many females as is possible; however, it is not uncommon for a male to court and defend a single female. It is not known how many males a female A. porcinus will allow to mate with her during a given breeding season.
Mating System: polygynous
Sexual maturity in A. porcinus occurs at 8-12 months of age. From this point mature individuals mate yearly from August to October. Breeding seasons, however, vary slightly in the introduced populations.
Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average gestation period: 8 months.
Average weaning age: 6 months.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 8-12 months.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 8-12 months.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual
Average birth mass: 2532 g.
Average gestation period: 232 days.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 304 days.
Gestation lasts for approximately eight months, thus A. porcinus births occur from May to July. Newly born fawns are dropped in dense reed beds or grass thickets where they remain concealed from predators for several days while the mother feeds, returning only periodically to suckle. Young are precocial at birth. Weaning occurs at approximately six months.
Parental Investment: precocial ; female parental care