The chital or axis deer (Axis axis) is a species of Cervid native to the Indian Subcontinent, thought introduced populations exists in Hawai’i and Texas. They are primarily grazes, but do occasionally browse.
Like many ungulates with similar relationships, the chital shares space with northern plains gray langurs (Semnopithecus entellus). The langurs have better eyesight than the chital and and have lookouts in the trees. When the langurs spot danger, they alert the deer of threats. Similarly, the chital have a better sense of smell than the langurs, so if they smell hidden predators before the langurs can spot them they can alert the langurs of danger. The deer will also eat fruit that the langurs drop for an added benefit from having them around.
Predators of the chital include tigers, lions, leopards, crocodiles, and dholes. Fawns and females are at a higher risk of predation than the large, antlered stags, though interestingly, dholes are the best hunters of males despite being a relatively small dog. Young stags stick to the edges of the herd of up to twenty individuals while older stags stay in the center with females and their fawns forming a center ring. Females and fawns aren’t closely bonded and often get separated, but their herding behavior makes it a simple task of finding each other. Males lose their antlers, but because of the tropical climate, the cycle of loss and regrowth is unique to each male. As a result, males with hardened antlers coexist with males with velvet. The stags with hardened antlers have dominance over the velvet antlered males, creating an interesting cycle of dominance within a herd. Similarly, females have unique fertility cycles and fawns are born year round.