The Four-horned Antelope, also known as Chousinga is a mammal found in open forest areas in India and Nepal. As the name suggests, these antelopes have four horns. Due to their skittish nature, not much is known about their lifestyle and not many scientists have had the opportunity of observing this beautiful animal.
These antelopes are medium-sized, reaching 90-100 cm in length and 15-25 kg in weight. Their fur is short, yellowish to brown by colour and white on the extremities. Only male antelopes have horns, and they grow in pairs – the one further back on the head is usually longer, reaching up to 10 cm, while the front pair rarely exceeds length of 5 cm.
Four-horned antelopes live alone or in pairs, it is possible that they establish life-long pairs with an antelope of the opposite sex. It’s very important for the Four-horned antelope to drink at least once a day, which is why they stay near water sources, most often surrounded by thick bushes or other places for cover or near a forest. The antelope flees to the forest or any thicker growth upon hearing any strange noise or seeing any possible threat, which is why you can rarely encounter it in open space.
Four-horned antelopes live in one territory for multiple years and will only move if there is no other option. Although their natural habitat is forests and bushy areas, they can easily maneuver through hilly areas and they climb rocks with incredible agility. These antelopes are herbivores and they feed on most forest vegetation, being too afraid to go to meadows. Forest leaves and other vegetation doesn’t provide the animal with the necessary water, which is why the antelope has to drink frequently, making it a possible prey for leopards, tigers and other predators who patrol areas near water sources.
Not much is known about the mating habits of the Four-horned antelope because they can rarely be seen in open territories. It is known that the males are extremely aggressive during the mating season and violent fights are not exceptional. It is possible that these animals form life-long pairs, because mostly two individuals can be observed.
Female’s pregnancy lasts for about 8 months and 1-3 calves are born. They stay in cover for quite a long time, while their mother grazes and frequently feeds them, thus if the mother is killed, all of the calves will also die soon. It’s not known when the young antelopes start their own lives or reach sexual maturity, but from the individuals observed in the wild, it’s speculated that the total life expectancy reaches up to 10 years. Due to the problems observing this animal, the total population count is unknown and the status of this species in regards of conservation can only be speculated.
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