Mud Wallowing

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We had a show stopper this morning – walking down the road as though it were a ramp, was a stunningly beautiful Sambar Stag.  Just a few feet away from us, it walked toward a waterhole. Normally that would mean it was headed to quench its thirst, but no, wait – we were in for an action-packed morning!

 As we took out our cameras to get some good shots, the stag started displaying distinctive behaviour. Digging the muddy soil with his antlers, he set foot in the wet mud, urinated and suddenly started rolling back and forth on his back.  Covered from head to toe, he spent a good thirty minutes in the slimes of the wet mud.

 The mud acts like a blanket and keeps the urine scent for longer. After this hustle of activity, the stag will leave his scent wherever he goes – in the bushes, thickets & tree trunks.  This allows him to send mating signals to the females around and also mark his territory.

 These wallowing, sparring and scent communications are rituals of behaviours displayed to attract females for courtship. True to its male behaviour, the stag displayed a sense of chauvanism in all aspects – its walk, its sturdy built, and of course its assertive and strong nature – truly a spectacular sight!

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