Sika Deer pp 101-110 | Cite as

Reproduction of Female Sika Deer in Japan, with Special Reference to Kinkazan Island, Northern Japan

  • Nobumasa Ohnishi
  • Masato Minami
  • Rie Nishiya
  • Kotoyo Yamada
  • Hiroyuki Nishizuka
  • Hiroshi Higuchi
  • Azusa Nara
  • Masatsugu Suzuki
  • Seiki Takatsuki

Reproduction of female sika deer (Cervus nippon) is explored in detail for a population on Kinkazan Island in northern Japan and compared to the variation in timing and value of reproductive parameters across the Japanese Archipelago. Age at sexual maturity usually occurs at yearling age, but some females, particularly in high nutritional environments, breed in their first year. Timing of the breeding season varies from north to south depending on the climate and vegetation, in relation to the most favorable season for giving birth. Late conceptions are commonplace, some due to young females maturing later in the season, and others due to older females failing to conceive in first estrous periods. Estrous cycles are variable, ranging from five to 25 days, with 15 days being most common. Usually a single calf is born after a 231-day gestation period, but twins occur, especially in nutritious environments. The sex ratio of offspring is balanced. Gestation period varies little across Japan despite northern animals being substantially larger than southern ones. The results for Japanese sika are discussed in relation to sika deer in other areas of the native and introduced range.


Breeding Season Estrous Cycle Sika Deer Gestation Period Chiba Prefecture 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nobumasa Ohnishi
    • 1
  • Masato Minami
  • Rie Nishiya
    • 2
  • Kotoyo Yamada
    • 3
  • Hiroyuki Nishizuka
    • 4
  • Hiroshi Higuchi
    • 4
  • Azusa Nara
    • 4
  • Masatsugu Suzuki
    • 5
  • Seiki Takatsuki
    1. 1.Senior ResearcherEco-planning Research Co. Ltd.TokyoJapan
    2. 2.Wild Bird Observation Center of Mt. ZaoZao-machiJapan
    3. 3.Kinkazan Deer Research Groupc/o Picchio Wildlife Research Center Co. Ltd.KaruizawaJapan
    4. 4.Kinkazan Deer Research GroupWildlife Community InstituteKaruizawaJapan
    5. 5.Professor, Laboratory of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, Faculty of Applied Biological SciencesGifu UniversityGifuJapan

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