Mainland Serow (Nemorhaedus sumatraensis)


Belonging to a group known as the goat-antelopes, the Sumatran serow is a rather small-bodied animal, with dark upperparts and whitish underparts. The hair of the coat is long and coarse, and a long mane of white, brown or black occurs on the neck . Male and female serows are similar in appearance, with both bearing stout, slightly curved horns which can be used to defend themselves to deadly effect. The long ears are narrow and pointed, the face bears large scent glands below the eyes, and the tail is fairly bushy. A number of subspecies of serow were previously recognised, but are now considered full species. However, the taxonomy of the serow is not resolved and further research is needed.
Also known as
mainland serow.
Head-body length: 140 180 cm
Tail length: 8 16 cm
Shoulder height: 85 94 cm
50 140 kg


The Sumatran serow occurs in Indonesia (Sumatra), peninsular Malaysia and southern Thailand

Biology and Ecology

The Sumatran serow is generally a solitary animal, although it may sometimes move about in groups of several individuals. Each serow inhabits a small area which is well marked with trails, dung heaps, and scents. This small area of habitat is selected so it can provide all the needs of the serow, such as sufficient grass, shoots and leaves on which to feed on during the early morning and late evening, and suitable sheltered resting places in caves or under overhanging rocks and cliffs. This home range is defended against any intruding serows by using their dagger-like horns, which are also used by this rather aggressive goat-antelope to fight off predators.
Although less specialised for climbing rugged mountains than some of its relatives, and with a somewhat slow and clumsy gait, the serow is nevertheless adept at descending steep, rocky slopes, and is also even known to swim between small islands in Malaysia. The mainland serow is territorial and lives alone or in small groups. It usually stays in a small area of only a few square miles where it grazes on grass, shoots and leaves from along beaten paths. It marks its territory with droppings and markings. It is most active at dawn and dusk, and spends the rest of the day in thick vegetation. The mainland serow gives birth to a single young usually in September or October. The gestation period is about eight months


Serows inhabit rugged mountains and rocky outcrops, covered with thick, moist vegetation or forest, up to an elevation of 2,700 metres
Serows are thought to mate primarily between October and November. The gestation period lasts for about seven months, with a single young usually born in the spring. Female serows usually reach sexual maturity at around 30 months, while males become sexually mature between 30 and 36 months of age.