Javan rusa

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Javan rusa[1]
Javan Deer couple - Baluran NP - East Java (29505339513).jpg
Male and Female at Baluran National Park, East Java, Indonesia
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Genus: Rusa
R. timorensis
Binomial name
Rusa timorensis
(Blainville, 1822)
Rusa timorensis natural range-map.png
Present distribution within the native range, including possible ancient introductions

The Javan rusa or Sunda sambar (Rusa timorensis) is a deer native to the islands of Indonesia and East Timor. Introduced populations exist in a wide variety of locations in the Southern Hemisphere.


The Javan rusa is featured on a 1988 500-rupiah banknote.

Seven subspecies of the Javan rusa are recognised:[1]

  • R. t. timorensis (Timor rusa deer) – Timor.
  • R. t. djongaMuna and Butung Islands.
  • R. t. floresiensis (Flores rusa deer) – Flores and other islands.
  • R. t. macassaricus (Celebes rusa deer) – Celebes.
  • R. t. moluccensis (Moluccan rusa deer) – Molucca Islands.
  • R. t. renschiBali.
  • R. t. russa (Javan rusa deer) – Java.


Rusa deer are distinguished by their large ears, the light tufts of hair above the eyebrows, and antlers that appear large relative to the body size. The antlers are lyre-shaped and three-tined.[3] Males are bigger than females; head-to-body length varies from 142 to 185 cm (4.66 to 6.07 ft), with a 20 cm (7.9 in) tail.[4] Males weigh 152–160 kg, female about 74 kg. The pelage is grayish-brown and often appears coarse.[3] Unlike most other deer species, newborn fawns do not bear spots.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Herd of rusa deer at the Baluran National Park

The Javan rusa natively occurs on the islands of Java, Bali, and Timor in Indonesia. It has been introduced to Irian Jaya, Borneo (Kalimantan), the Lesser Sunda Islands, Maluku, Sulawesi, Pohnpei, Mauritius, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, the Christmas Islands, the Cocos Islands, Nauru, Australia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, New Britain, and New Ireland.[2][5] Rusa deer were introduced by the Dutch to New Guinea during the early 1900s.[6]:375

Its habitat preferences are similar to that of the chital of India: open dry and mixed deciduous forests, parklands, and savannas. Rusa deer have established populations in remote islands, probably brought there by Indonesian fishermen. They adapt well, living as comfortably in the dry Australian bush as they do in their tropical homelands. This trait is shown well in the more frequent encounters on the fringes of Wollongong and Sydney, and in particular in the Royal National Park, indicating steadily growing numbers and strong herds.[citation needed]


Rusa deer are active mostly in the early morning and late afternoon. They are rarely seen in the open and are very difficult to approach due to their keen senses and cautious instincts.[citation needed]

The species is very sociable, and individuals are rarely found alone. When alarmed, a rusa stag lets out an extremely loud honk. This is an alarm call and alerts any other deer in the vicinity.[citation needed]

As with other deer species, Javan rusa mainly feed on grass, leaves, and fallen fruit. They do not drink water, deriving all required fluid from their food.[3][4]

The main predators of the species include the Javan leopard, the dhole, crocodiles, pythons, and the Komodo dragon.[3][4]


The Javan rusa mates around July and August, when stags contest by calling in a loud, shrill bark and duelling with the antlers. The doe gives birth to one or two calves after a gestation period of 8 months, at the start of spring. Calves are weaned at 6–8 months, and sexual maturity is attained at 3–5 years, depending on habitat conditions. Javan rusas live 15–20 years both in the wild and in captivity.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b Grubb, P. (2005). "Rusa timorensis". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 670. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b Hedges, S.; Duckworth, J.W.; Timmins, R.J.; Semiadi, G. & Priyono, A. (2008). "Rusa timorensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008. Retrieved 9 April 2009.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of vulnerable.
  3. ^ a b c d e Reyes, E. "Rusa timorensis". University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. Animal Diversity Web.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Rusa, Sunda sambar". Ultimate Ungulate.
  5. ^ Long, JL (2003). Introduced Mammals of the World: Their History, Distribution and Influence. Cabi Publishing. ISBN 9780851997483.
  6. ^ Georges, A., Guarino, F., & Bito, B. (2006). Freshwater turtles of the TransFly region of Papua New Guinea – notes on diversity, distribution, reproduction, harvest and trade. Wildlife Research, 33(5), 373. doi:10.1071/wr05087

External links[edit]

  • "Feral rusa deer". Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Restricted invasive animals. Queensland Government, Australia. 18 May 2020. Retrieved 2020-06-27.