International Wildlife Encyclopedia - Vol. 17

By Maurice Burton; Robert Burton | Go to book overview

SEROW

THE SEROW IS ONE OF SEVERAL animals known as goat-antelopes, the others including the goral, chamois and Rocky Mountain goat. Although it was previously put in a different genus from the others, the serow is very closely related to the goral, with which it now shares a generic name. The serow differs in being larger, at least 32 inches (81 cm) tall, whereas gorals are never more than 28 inches (71 cm). Serows are also distinguished in having small face glands that give out a duikerlike odor. These glands lie in pits in the skull. The serow's horns are similar to those of the goral, being black, closely ridged and about 8 inches (20 cm) long. They point straight back in line with the face and then curve down very slightly.

Of the three species, the maned, or mainland, serow stands 39–42 inches (99–107 cm) high and weighs 150–200 pounds (68–91 kg). It has a thin rough coat, grizzled black to red, a strong mane on the back of the neck and very long ears. It lives from Sumatra north to the Himalayas, Szechwan and the lowlands of southern China, and varies with its geographic range. The red form is common in the hills of Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia, but in the lowlands in these areas it is black. Himalayan races have limbs that are chestnut above and dirty white below, and the general coat color is black. Chinese races are black, but the mane is usually white and very long.

The other two are island species. The Japanese serow has a longer, more woolly coat and shorter ears, no mane and a bushy tail; it is black to dark brown but lighter in summer. It is only 32 inches (81 cm) high and weighs 45 pounds (20 kg). The hair may be 4 inches (10 cm) long on the body. The Taiwanese serow is as small as the Japanese species, but its chin and throat are reddish brown, there are white patches on the chest and belly and the hind legs are reddish brown with a black line down the front.


Mountaineering goat-antelopes

Serow, like goral, live in rocky places and are good climbers. They are, however, less agile than the goral, being larger, and they prefer a damper environment. Both are found in the Szechwan mountains, where they inhabit the moist gorges of small streams at 10,000–13,000 feet (3,000–4,000 m). Here the ground is steep and precipitous, but there is still thick bush, forest or bamboo jungle. In Sumatra serow are found in the low tropical hills, always steep but well-watered and forested, where there are boulders and caves. Serow seem to migrate vertically with the season, going higher up the hills in summer. Japanese serow live at above 3,300 feet (1,000 m) in pine forest and open grassland, and the same is true for the Taiwanese serow.

Like the gorals, maned serows may move in small herds of up to seven animals, but they are more often solitary. Each serow appears to have a small territory; four or five will divide up a hillside between them. They are very active and, like many other mammals of the region, they feed mainly around dawn and dusk, lying up in cover during the heat of the day.


Goatlike courtship

In the Japanese serow, mating is preceded by a courtship ritual similar to that of both goats and gazelles. The male licks the female's mouth, strikes between her hind legs with his forelegs and rubs his horns against her genitalia. The season of birth varies in different parts of the range: in Japan births occur from June to August, in the Himalayas from May to June and in

The once endangered
Japanese serow was
down to 2,000 to
3,000 individuals, due
to overhunting. Since it
was declared a special
national monument in
1955, its numbers have
increased to 100,000.

-2323-

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International Wildlife Encyclopedia - Vol. 17
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Sea Snake 2308
  • Sea Spider 2310
  • Sea Squirt 2312
  • Sea Urchin 2314
  • Secretary Bird 2316
  • Seed Snipe 2319
  • Seriema 2321
  • Serow 2323
  • Serval 2325
  • Shad 2327
  • Sharks 2329
  • Shearwater 2334
  • Sheathbill 2337
  • Sheetweb Spider 2339
  • Shelduck 2341
  • Shieldbug 2344
  • Ship Rat 2346
  • Shipworm 2349
  • Shoebill Stork 2351
  • Shore Crab 2353
  • Short-Eared Dog 2356
  • Shrew 2358
  • Shrike 2361
  • Shrimp 2364
  • Shrimpfish 2367
  • Sidewinder 2369
  • Sifaka 2371
  • Sika 2374
  • Silk Moth 2376
  • Silverside 2379
  • Siren 2381
  • Skate 2383
  • Skimmer 2386
  • Skink 2389
  • Skipper 2391
  • Skunk 2393
  • Skylark 2396
  • Slater 2398
  • Sloth 2400
  • Sloth Bear 2403
  • Slowwo Rm 2406
  • Slug 2408
  • Smelt 2410
  • Snakeh Ead 2412
  • Snake Mackerel 2414
  • Snake-Necked Turtle 2416
  • Snakes 2418
  • Snapper 2423
  • Snapping Turtle 2425
  • Snipe 2427
  • Snoek 2430
  • Snow Leopard 2432
  • Snow Petrel 2435
  • Snowy Owl 2437
  • Soft Coral 2440
  • Soft-Shelled Turtle 2442
  • Sole 2444
  • Index 2446
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