View Full Version : Sambar's Sore Spot

Vikram Nanjappa
26-02-2009, 03:45 PM
On the ventral surface of the sambars neck there is a line of hair which is darker and less sleek than the surrounding pelage. This runs down the mid-line from the throat to the lower part of the neck. During the rut, which occurs from November to December, the hair falls and the skin sloughs off giving a circular area about an inch to two in diameter a bloody appearance. This area exudes a fluid and is commonly called the sore spot. There were conflicting opinions in the past as to the function and nature of the sore spot. It is now however acknowledged that due to the limited period of the year when it occurs and its widespread appearance among the animals it is in all probability a gland and the fact that it appears at the beginning of the rut suggest that the two are interlinked.

Sabyasachi Patra
06-03-2009, 10:44 PM
George B. Schaller in his much acclaimed book - The Deer and the Tiger :

"One of the manifestations of the early part of the rut is the "sore neck: (J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 1921; Morris, 1988) or"sore spot." On the ventral surface of the neck is a line of hair, somewhat darker and less sleek than the surrounding pelage, which runs down the mid-line from the throat to the lower part of the neck. At the begining of the rut, the hair falls out at the terminus of this line, and the skin seems to slough off, forming a circular area about one to two inches in diameter which is bloody in appearance and exudes a seous fluid, "a kind of whittish looking oily or watery substance" (Thom, 1937). The area around the sore spot is sometimes swollen, and Kemp (1914 [quoted in J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 1921]) observed that hair is occasionally rubbed off over an area as large as eight inches long and six inches wide. I noted the first sore spot on November 15 and the last one on December 15. many sore spots began to heal during the first half of December, and by January the only evidence of them was an area of pinkish skin lightly overgrown with hair. Sore spots were not seen at other times of the year at Kanha, but in Kaziranga Sanctuary two stags and a hind all had them on May 3......."

Good job in clicking this sore spot with the leaf touching it. I would have been happier if the head of the Sambar were visible. Good documentation Vikram!

AB Apana
08-06-2009, 06:30 PM
Another image of the sore patch. Took this in Gopalswamy betta in February 2009. I particularly like this image since I found the sambar myself sans guide.


Abhishek Jamalabad
09-06-2009, 08:30 AM
Never knew this, thanks.

Dipankar Mazumdar
09-06-2009, 09:59 AM
A great start to a very relevant section...!!!!

Sabyasachi Patra
09-06-2009, 10:05 AM
The sore patch is clearly visible in your image. It is noted that the patch is healed by february. Nice image.

Murugan Anantharaman
09-06-2009, 10:52 AM
Wow this is interesting information. At one look i would have thought that maybe the sambar is hurt. But since this phenomenon appears across all sambars, very interesting. Just wondering whether this appears only on male sambars or female ones or both. Since the reason for appearance is not documented clearly probably it could be a growing up process of one of the sexes. But on second thoughts from both the images posted here it seems to be a phenomenon occuring across both the sexes.. Just thinking aloud here

Sabyasachi Patra
02-09-2009, 10:49 PM
I photographed this Sambar having a sore spot on 29th August 2009 at Bandipur Tiger Reserve. There were lot of flies on the sore spot.

Canon EOS 1D Mark II, Canon EF 400mm f2.8 L IS USM, ISO 400, f6.3, 1/640, full frame image, hand held.


Saktipada Panigrahi
25-11-2011, 07:44 AM
Nice documentation of the most remarkable feature of the Sambar.Good writings too.

Schaller and Krishnan have slightly divergent views on some aspect:
Summary from M.Krishnan's writings:

1. Schaller thinks that the sore patch has a sexual significance,the exudation from it being rubbed off on the vegetation to provide scent markings in the course of the sambar's movements through cover.
Krishnan does not think that sore patch has any sexual significance.He has seen it on hinds with very young fawns at their heels,when they were still in the phase of lactation and could not have been in breeding condition and also on a heavily gravid hind and also on stags in velvet-quite adequate evidence of sore patch having no sexual significance.

2.Krishnan agrees with those that suggest a glandular basis for the patch: its location and the white-lipped mouth of the patch does suggest some glandular activity.Clearly it is nothing pathological,but normal,considering the commonness of its occurence.

3.Krishnan has never seen the patch on the fawn and not often on the yearling.The sore patch is not a universal feature of sambar everywhere in the peninsula-it does not seem to occur among sambar in Hazaribagh N.P.,a faunal area specifically noted for its sambar.He had not seen sore patch in a single sambar in Tadoba N.P. in Nov,1968 and Nov,1969.

4.In Kanha the patch does not seem to be extensive as it is in other parts of peninsula,for example Mudumalai and Bandipur.In Mudumalai,most of the adults(but not all)seen in March,April,Sept and October carried the sore patch.SaktiWild

Indebtedness to:Writings of M.Krishnan