Deer are ruminant mammals and the group also include elk, chital, muntjac and reindeer but antelope and musk deer belong to separate families. Here is the list of endangered and endemic species of deer found in India.
Chital deer also known as spotted deer is the most common species of deer found in India and native to the forest of the Indian subcontinent. The highest numbers of chital are found in the dense deciduous forest of India, keep a note antlers are present only on male spotted deer.
Sambar deer is the largest species of deer native to the Indian subcontinent and listed as Vulnerable due to hunting and loss of habitat. The sambar prefers the dense forest and feed on a wide variety of vegetation, also they are one of the most favourite prey of Bengal tiger and Gujarat lions in India.
The swamp deer are different from other Indian deer species, they mostly feed on grasses and aquatic plants. Barasingha is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Kanha National Park of Madhya Pradesh is the best place to spot Barasingha in India.
Sangai or brow antlered deer is an endemic and endangered animal of India, found only in and around Loktak lake of Manipur. Keibul Lamjao National Park of Manipur is the only floating park in the world and solo home to India’s endangered Manipur Eld’s deer or brow antlered deer.
Kashmir Stag also known as hangul is found in dense riverine forest of Kashmir Valley. The hangul deer is a subspecies of elk found in India, mostly around Dachigam National Park and Chamba district of Himachal.
Indian hog deer is a medium sized species of deer that only found in small localities of Assam, mostly in Orang National Park, Kaziranga and Manas National Park on the bank of the Brahmaputra river valley.
The Himalayan musk deer or Kasturi deer, lives in alpine habitats of Himalayas in India and listed as endangered. White bellied musk deer inhabits high alpine environments of Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and protected by law in India but the species is endangered because of the musk known as Kasturi in India, which is highly valuable, used for perfumes and medicines.
Indian muntjac or barking deer is an omnivores wild animal, mostly feed on grass, fruits and occasionally scavenge on dead animals. The barking deer are also among the smallest deer species found in India like chevrotain.
Leaf muntjac is very rare species of deer found only in Namdapha Tiger Reserve of Arunachal Pradesh and in Eastern Nagaland. This Leaf deer is not very well known in India and one of the lesser known species of muntjac found in India.
Indian spotted chevrotain is known as mouse deer is the smallest hoofed mammals in the world, found in the dense rainforests of India and Nepal. They are nocturnal, solitary and feed on plant material.
The blackbuck, chinkara, nilgai and chousingha are antelope found in India, found living in arid plains and hills of light forest, thar desert and native to the Indian subcontinent.