Male chital deer Axis axis, spar in the Kanha Tiger Reserve. Sparring is preceded by dominance displays involving a slow approach towards each other. Such bouts are usually not serious between well-matched adults, but instances have been recorded where lethal harm has been inflicted by a horn that punctures the opponent’s body to strike at a vital organ. Rarely, horns may get inextricably interlocked, leading to the death of both animals.
Photo: Nilesh Rathod