Can sambar deer swim? This is a question that has been puzzling people for a long time. Deer are known to be good swimmers, but the sambar deer is unique in that it can swim in both freshwater and saltwater.
The ability of sambar deer to swim is first and foremost a survival mechanism.
During flooding, sambar deer can swim across flooded rivers and climb steep riverbanks to escape drowning. They also use the opportunity to migrate across natural barriers such as swamps and waterlogged areas where they cannot usually access.
The sambar deer’s swimming ability is attributed to its fusiform body shape; having long legs, a streamlined profile and webbed feet, it is designed for aquatic locomotion.
Their strong pelvic girdles and well-developed leg muscles allow them to propel themselves forward by kicking their hind limbs , while their tails provide stability and counterbalance.
Sambar deer can reach speeds of 40km/hr when swimming!
Since the sambar deer is a large animal with a bulk of approximately 90kg, its swimming is rather slow and laboured. In addition to this, the sambar deer’s antlers might get in the way when swimming, rendering it less agile in water. As such, they are more likely to seek out shallow waters where stealth is not as important as compared to deeper waters where speed becomes a necessity for survival.
The sambar deer’s long legs help it swim faster through relatively deep water by making long strides . They also make use of their front limbs to push themselves forward while their hind limbs trail behind them , much like human breaststroke . When crossing rivers with strong currents, sambar deer will form into a circle or line holding onto each other’s tails for stability and safety.
Although the sambar deer is a powerful swimmer, it usually avoids swimming whenever it can. Instead, it will wade through shallow water or walk along riverbanks.
It only resorts to swimming as an escape mechanism. Sometimes, when escaping from predators such as tigers and crocodiles, the sambar deer will become completely submerged in water as a survival tactic.
Even though they are capable of swimming across large bodies of open waters such as rivers and seas, the sambar deer has demonstrated that it has a poor diving ability compared to most other cervids. They lack good underwater vision due to their eyes being located on the side of their head instead of at the front like many marine animals.
In addition, the antlers of sambar deer are a potential drowning hazard. When threatened by predators such as crocodiles and tigers, they might become trapped in their antlers or drown after becoming completely submerged in water while fighting with these predators underwater.
How swimming helps sambar deer evade predators?
Sambar deer make use of their swimming ability to evade predators such as tigers and crocodiles.
When threatened by a group of tigers, sambar deer will flee in different directions. Some will swim across rivers to escape while others might climb steep riverbanks to escape the attack.
The swifter animals that manage to outrun the tigers will eventually converge onto high ground and form a circle around the slower members of its herd, protecting them from predators. While this sounds like an effective way for the species to survive, it also highlights the degree of risk they put themselves through when trying to escape. If caught in deep water by a tiger, there is no way for them to fight back or defend themselves since all they can do is kick and flail their feet.
It is also difficult for them to climb steep riverbanks because they often slip and fall due to the soft mud.
The sambar deer’s ability to swim across large bodies of open waters such as rivers and seas allows it to escape into new territories that are not accessible by land . As a result, sambar deer recoveries have been noted in areas where there has been poaching; this could be because poachers typically only operate on land and cannot access these off-limit zones.
The type of cover provided by deep riverine vegetation or mangroves as well as the relative inaccessible terrain surrounding these waterbodies provides an ideal safe zone for sambar deer populations to bounce back from near extinction levels.
What happens when a sambar deer jumps in the water?
When fleeing from predators such as tigers and crocodiles , sambar deer will sometimes jump into the water as a survival tactic. It tries to swim away from its pursuer or it may try to remain hidden underwater by swimming underneath floating vegetation.
The length of the sambar deer’s legs gives it an edge over other animals such as dogs when trying to swim across open water. This is because they allow for longer strides which means that they can cover more ground per stroke compared to short-legged animals.
This helps them travel faster in deep waters but also increases drag, making paddling difficult . To minimise the amount of energy expended during swimming, sambar deer usually do not rely on their front limbs alone and instead use their front and back limbs in unison, much like how other animals swim.
What are the downsides of being a strong swimmer?
Sambar deer can be considered to be excellent swimmers that are well-adapted to swimming across large bodies of water such as rivers and seas, but this is usually done in an attempt to evade predators.
Being excellent swimmers means that they need large territories around them which means that these deer often come into conflict with humans due to encroachment onto agricultural areas or towns/cities. Furthermore, sambar deer populations become fractured because there are too many isolated pockets separated by deep rivers which might impede genetic flow between different groups.
These types of fragmented habitats prevent further gene flow between isolated groups of sambar deer, further exacerbating their lack of genetic diversity.
What are the benefits of being able to swim?
Sambar deer use deep rivers and seas as refuges in times where they are under attack from predators such as tigers. Their swimming ability allows them access to areas that are not accessible via land thus creating new habitats for the species.
Whereas fragmented habitats cause problems due to lack of genetic flow between populations, these off-limit zones promote gene flow which helps to reduce the severity of inbreeding within isolated populations.
Sambar deer are good swimmers that have evolved the ability to travel across deep rivers and seas in order to escape predators. They are so effective at swimming due to their long limbs which allow them to cover more ground with each stroke.
Their strong swimming ability provides access to novel safe havens where they can recover from near extinction levels, but these isolated populations create problems of their own due to lack of genetic flow between groups.
It might be necessary for us humans to reduce hunting pressure on sambar deer through better regulation or creating new protected areas if we intend on seeing their numbers rise again in the future.
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