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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 09, 2021

Did You Know? 19 Incredible Taruca Facts For Kids

Read about taruca facts to know these deer species with antlers.

Taruca deer, also known as north Andean deer, are native to South America and are often spotted in the northern Andes, northern Argentina, northeastern parts of Chile, and the central regions of Peru and Bolivia. During the rainy season, these species can be seen moving to higher altitudes in order to protect themselves from floods and in search of food.

The gestation period of nine months in these taruca deer species is almost similar to humans in which the baby is carried by the female in the womb. They have yellowish-brown-colored fur on their upper body while their lower body is white. The males have four horns like pointed antlers, among which the front two are short while the other two are longer.

The taruca deer species live up to the age of 8-10 years. The tail of these deers is dark brown to black in color from the tip. Many times, north Andean deer are confused with Peruvian north Andean huemuls.

If you enjoyed this taruca animal article, then do read some surprising facts about reindeer and key deer.

Taruca Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a taruca?

Tarucas are also known as northern Andean deer as they live in the Andes Mountains. The scientific name for taruca is Hippocamelus antisensis. The north Andean deer is sometimes confused with the north Andean huemul and are classified as ungulates.

What class of animal does the taruca belong to?

The taruca, or north Andean deer, belongs to the class of Mammalia and the family Cervidae, similar to the axis deer. They are from the genus Hippocamelus and the order Artiodactyla.

How many tarucas are there in the world?

The exact number of north Andean deer is not estimated and is unknown to the world.

Where does taruca live?

The taruca deer, or north Andean deer, are native deer species of South America. They can be found in a limited area of the northern Andes mountains. The taruca deer species population is distributed in northern Argentina, the northeastern parts of Chile, and the central regions of Peru and Bolivia. They are evident in the southern parts of America.

What is a taruca's habitat?

The taruca deer's preferred habitat is rocky mountain regions with diverse vegetation of tundra and sub-alpine meadows at higher altitudes or elevations, whereas, at lower altitudes or elevations, these species live near water sources and grasslands. During the rainy season, these species can be seen moving or herding to higher altitudes or elevations in the wild in order to protect themselves from floods and predators such as domestic dogs and humans.

Who does taruca live with?

Tarucas live in groups with five to seven members. The group consists of males, females, and fawns. In total, there are around 30 groups and the females are responsible for leading the groups.

How long does a taruca live?

Taruca deer live up to the age of 8-10 years.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction of these taruca deer is often spotted from the early summer from May to July. The taruca separate themselves from the group into pairs. The new young fawn birth takes place after a long gestation period of seven to nine months. Female tarucas are known to separate themselves from the group as they separate for mating. The taruca fawn is hidden by the female for four to five weeks in the rocky lands. Only one fawn takes birth at a time, and in rare cases, two. They can be seen between the months of February and April. The male taruca's horns, like antlers, are known to shed after the breeding season in September. The new pair began to grow in December.

What is their conservation status?

This north Andean deer is classified as a Vulnerable Threatened species by the IUCN, similar to the Chinese water deer. Their natural habitat is being disturbed by human activities such as farming and deforestation.

Taruca Fun Facts

What does a taruca look like?

The taruca or north Andean deer has a fur-like coat on their body.

Taruca's ears are similar to the ears of deer and can be seen lifted when they sense danger. The north Andean deer has strong, thick, and short legs. They have canine teeth. Their horns are black and are like pointed antlers, among which the front two are short while the other two are longer. Generally, they are small. The size of the antlers is 8.6-10.6 in (22-27 cm). They are a sexually dimorphic species.

The ears of males are longer and narrower. The shoulder height of males and females differs. The colors of these animals are yellow, gray, and brown, with a dark brown color on the top of their tails, unlike white-tailed deer. The males have a longer tail than females. The lower or underbody is white with a light color near the throat area. They have a fur-like coat on their bodies which protects them through different seasons.

How cute are they?

The north Andean deer, Hippocamelus antisensis, are indeed cute like other deer and often attract viewers towards them. Though their population has declined, whenever you spot them you will enjoy their quick movements.

How do they communicate?

Taruca communicate using physical gestures and chemicals. They smell the body and reciprocate to the tactile cues of taruca deer.

How big is the taruca?

The north Andean deer, Hippocamelus antisensis, is 59-67 in (150-170 cm) long and has a height of 31-36 in (79-91 cm).

How fast can a taruca run?

The taruca's speed has not been evaluated, but in general, most deer species are known to run at a speed of 25-30 mph (40-50 kph).

How much does a taruca weigh?

They weigh around 99-143 lb (45-65 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and females do not have any sex-specific names.

What would you call a baby taruca?

The babies of taruca, Hippocamelus antisensis, are called fawns.

What do they eat?

The diet of Hippocamelus antisensis is sedges, grasses, and more. They also feed on bushes, shrubs, and herbs. They are herbivores like other deer.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous and are actually hunted by humans for their fur and antlers. Instead, these deer have many predators, such as domestic dogs, pumas, and Magellan foxes.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they would make good pets, but as these species are listed as Vulnerable, it would be ideal to let them stay in their own natural habitat. If you spot the regular presence of these South American deer species, then do feed them in a secretive manner, as they usually avoid any human presence and will run away. The deer are not at all territorial and are often scared when attacked.

Did you know...

The north Andean deer has been on the list of Vulnerable species since 1976. The main reason behind their declining population is poaching.

Some other names include north huemul, Peruvian huemul, taruga, and turuka, etc. Another species of the same genus is Hippocamelus bisulcus, found in the Andes mountains of Chile and western Argentina. However, the range of these two species varies to a great extent but both are native to South America.

What is the difference between male and female tarucas?

If the male and female species are related in terms of their characteristics, they are a sexually dimorphic species. The male's ears are longer and narrower. The tails of males are longer. The males and females have different shoulder heights.

Taruca vs. deer

Generally, a taruca is a type of deer, but not all deer species are taruca. Taruca and deer are both herbivores. The fawns have white spots on their bodies, which can help to identify both the animals. Both species have the same head shape and body type.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Scottish deerhound dog facts and fallow deer fun facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Himalayan musk deer coloring pages.

Second image by J-P Bachelot.

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