The Japanese serow is primarily a solitary bovid, although pairs and sometimes small family groups may occur.
It has a small home range that it marks by rubbing trees and rocks with the smelly secretions from glands located below its eyes and on its hooves.
It defends its territory by stabbing with its small horns, which both sexes possess. Sometimes the loser is seriously injured, even mortally.
The Japanese serow is ecologically out of balance. Once overhunted, it became so rare that the government of Japan declared it a national treasure. Since then, its numbers have rebounded and it now causes considerable damage to the forests in which it lives.
Historically, serow populations were probably kept in check by large predatory cats, which are now all gone.
Name: Japanese Serow (Naemorhedus crispus)
Family: Bovidae (Cattle and Relatives)
Range: Central and southern Japan
Habitat: Subalpine forest
Diet: Mixed vegetation
Head and Body Length: 3 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 m)
Tail Length: 3 to 6 inches (8 to 16 cm)
Shoulder Height: 24 to 29 inches (60 to 75 cm)
Weight: 110 to 242 pounds (50 to 110 kg)
Life Cycle: Little is known, believed to mate October to November; gestation about 210 to 225 days, one (sometimes two) fawns born
Description: Black to reddish-brown coat; whitish underparts; narrow, pointed ears; short, black horns; white, bearded cheeks; blackish-brown legs; bushy tail
Conservation Status: Lower Risk (Conservation Dependent)
Major Threat: Unknown