India’s herbivore biodiversity is incredibly rich and diverse, with a wide variety of species found across the country. From the majestic Indian elephant to the elusive Indian rhinoceros, there is no shortage of fascinating herbivores in India. Other notable herbivores include the Indian bison, sambar deer, chital deer, wild boar, and various antelope species. Many of these species are highly adapted to the unique habitats found in India, including tropical forests, grasslands, and wetlands. In addition to their ecological importance, many of these herbivores are also culturally significant, playing important roles in traditional Indian folklore and mythology. Overall, the richness of India’s herbivore biodiversity is a testament to the country’s incredible natural heritage.
|1||Common Name||Four horned antelope|
|2||Scientific Name||Tetracerus quadricornis|
|4||Colour||Yellowish-brown with brown white under parts|
|5||Height / girth ( For animals and birds – height, for fishes / reptiles – girth of the body)||60-70 cm|
|6||Tail length ( if its mammal||10-15 cm|
|7||Height till shoulder ( If its mammal)||60-70|
|8||Average weight||17-25 kg|
|9||Food habits||Herbivorous feeds on grasses, leaves, fruit,and flowers|
|10||Habitat||Found in india and nepal in grassland and forest|
|11||Any interesting facts about them||1. It is the smallest ungulate (hoofed mammal) found in India. 2. Both males and females have four horns, with the anterior pair being longer than the posterior pair.|
The four-horned antelope, also known as the chousingha, is a small antelope species native to the Indian subcontinent. As its name suggests, this species is known for its distinctive four horns, which are present in both males and females. The horns are slender and pointed, and the front pair is longer than the back pair.
The colour of the four-horned antelope varies depending on the season and the individual, but generally, it is a reddish-brown colour on the back and sides, with a lighter underbelly. The males are slightly larger than females, with a height of up to 30 inches at the shoulder, while females typically measure around 24 inches.
One of the special characteristics of the four-horned antelope is its ability to lie flat on the ground, using its horns to blend in with the surroundings and avoid detection by predators. They are primarily herbivorous and feed on grasses, leaves, and fruits.
During the breeding season, males display aggressive behaviour towards each other, and they engage in horn-clashing battles to establish dominance and mating rights. Overall, the four-horned antelope is a fascinating and unique species that plays an important role in the ecosystems of India’s grasslands and forests.
As herbivores, the four-horned antelope feeds on a variety of vegetation, including grasses, leaves, fruits, and flowers. They are known to be selective feeders and can alter their diet based on seasonal availability. During the dry season, they rely heavily on dry leaves and shrubs, while in the wet season, they consume fresh grasses and fruits.
The four-horned antelope is primarily found in India, although its range extends into parts of Nepal and Bangladesh. Within India, it is distributed throughout much of the country, with populations found in grasslands, scrublands, and forests. They are known to inhabit a variety of habitats, including dry and wet deciduous forests, thorn forests, and grasslands.
The four-horned antelope is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. While its overall population size is currently stable, the species faces a number of threats in India.
Habitat loss and fragmentation due to agriculture, logging, and human settlement are major threats to the four-horned antelope. Additionally, hunting and poaching for its meat and horns are significant issues, particularly in areas where the species is considered a delicacy or used in traditional medicine.
Despite these threats, the four-horned antelope is still relatively widespread and locally common in many areas of its range in India. However, population estimates for the species are not available, as there has been little research on the species’ abundance and distribution.
Major threats faced
Habitat loss and fragmentation: The four-horned antelope’s natural habitat is rapidly disappearing due to human activities such as deforestation, agriculture, and urbanisation. This loss of habitat can fragment populations and restrict their movements, making it difficult for them to find food and mates.
Hunting and poaching: The four-horned antelope is hunted for its meat and horns, which are believed to have medicinal properties. This hunting, along with poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, has put significant pressure on the species and led to declines in its populations.
Human disturbance: The four-horned antelope is sensitive to human disturbance, and activities such as tourism, development, and livestock grazing can disrupt their behavior and habitat use.
Climate change: Climate change is altering the distribution of vegetation and water resources, which can impact the four-horned antelope’s food and water availability. Additionally, climate change can exacerbate other threats such as habitat loss and fragmentation.
The four-horned antelope is found in several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries throughout India. Some of the prominent protected areas where this species can be spotted are:
Kanha National Park – Located in Madhya Pradesh, this park is one of the largest and most well-known tiger reserves in India. It is home to a wide range of wildlife, including the four-horned antelope.
Bandhavgarh National Park – Another popular tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh is known for its high tiger population as well as a variety of other mammal species, including the four-horned antelope.
Sariska Tiger Reserve – Located in Rajasthan, this reserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including tigers, leopards, and the four-horned antelope.
Bori Wildlife Sanctuary – Located in Madhya Pradesh, this sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife, including the four-horned antelope and the critically endangered Ganges river dolphin.
Satpura Tiger Reserve – Located in Madhya Pradesh, this reserve is known for its rugged terrain and diverse wildlife, including the four-horned antelope, Indian giant squirrel, and sloth bear.