Fun Serow Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Feb 13, 2023 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Read these serow facts to learn more about this mammal that is considered to be the national symbol of Japan.
All ages
Read time: 8.6 Min

Serows are a particular type of animal that looks like goats and antelopes but belong to the family Bovidae and the genus of Capricornis. They usually live on high-altitude mountains of Japan, Southeast Asia (China, India, Bangladesh, and the ranges of Himalayas), Indonesia, Sumatra, Taiwan, and Myanmar.

They can jump really high and are considered fast, and generally have confined territories for both the male and female serow. At times it is hard to distinguish between a male and female serow as they both have beards and curved horns that are smaller than their ears. They do not exhibit sexual dimorphism.

To find out more interesting facts and information about other animals. You can also check our guides on the royal antelope and spiral-horned antelope for more enriching and mind-blowing facts and guides.

Serow Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a serow?

A serow has four species: the Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus), Sumatran serow or mainland serow (Capricornis sumatraensis), red serow (Capricornis rubidus), and Taiwanese serow (Capricornis swinhoei). They look like goats and antelopes and are medium-sized mammals of the genus Capricornis. They have set territories. Males and females have different territories that can overlap at times.

What class of animal does a serow belong to?

A serow belongs to the class Mammalia. They have mammary glands to nourish their young ones properly.

How many serows are there in the world?

There are four species of serows found in different parts of China, India, Himalayas, Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh. Four species of serow include the Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus), Sumatran serow or mainland serow (Capricornis Sumatraensis), red serow (Capricornis rubidus), and Taiwanese serow (Capricornis swinhoei). Their exact population is not known.

Where does a serow live?

Species of serow live on a high altitude range, in dense mountain forests, in Kyushu, Honshu, and Shikoku in Japan, Southeast Asia, eastern Himalayas, eastern Bangladesh, China, and the Indonesian Island of Sumatra, Taiwan, northern Myanmar, southern Bangladesh.

What is a serow's habitat?

Species of the serow like to live alone. They live on high mountain ranges and in a dense mountain forest that is 13,000 ft (3.96 km) above sea level. They can climb steep mountains and live in cold temperatures. Different serow species are found in different higher altitudes. Some species are found in the mountains of Japan, like the Japanese serow; they rest in caves and prefer deep temperate forests.

In Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, the Islands of Sumatra, the Sumatran serow (Capricornis sumatraensis) lives in steep mountains; they prefer rocky terrain and can tolerate human interference. In Taiwan, the Taiwanese serows (Formosan serow) are mainly found in areas of Yushan National Park. They refer to rocky hills like their relative goral. At times, both gorals and serows share the same territories.

Who do serows live with?

Different serow species live differently under different circumstances. The Japanese serow lives either in solitude, in small groups or pairs, or in small packs. The Capricornis sumatraensis (mainland serow or Sumatran serow) live alone or in small groups. The Formosan serow also lives in small groups and pairs. The red serow generally prefers to live alone or in really small pairs.

How long does a serow live?

While different species of serows have a different life expectancy range, the Japanese serow can live up to 20-25 years of age. The Taiwanese serow can live up to 15 years of age. There is no such specific information about the life expectancy range of Sumatran serows and red serows species.

How do they reproduce?

The Japanese serow is socially monogamous. The females of Japanese serow reach their sexual maturity at around 30 months. They breed once a year, and the breeding age starts from two and a half to three years of age. The male Japanese serow exhibits certain behaviors to the females during the time of mating. It is followed by a gestation period of 210-220 days. The newborn fawn stays with the mother for two to three years, and then they are ready and grown-up and gradually move away from the mother's range to get their own. The mainland serows species (Capricornis sumatraensis) have a gestation period of eight months before giving birth to a single offspring. The gestation period of Formosan serows is around seven months. It gives birth to one offspring, but it can, on rare occasions, give birth to two offspring as well. The newborn calves can start walking in only a few hours. Male serows don't care about the young ones. In six months to a year, the new calves can live independently and walk away from their mothers.

What is their conservation status?

Some serow species are under the IUCN Red List and are Endangered in the wild and need conservation. The Japanese serow is not on the IUCN Red List but is protected in their natural territorial forests and surroundings. They also have a stable population. The population of the Japanese serows is restricted to the islands of Japan only.

Serow Fun Facts

What do serows look like?

There are four different types of Serows in the world.

In a basic sense, serows look like goats and antelopes and are quite similar to their relative, the Chinese goral, though serows are slower than the goral. The coloration varies from species to species. The Sumatran serows are grizzled black from head to neck with some tints of rusty red on the shoulders and body. Some shades of whites and gray are also present on their body. They have slightly backward-covered horns. They are furry and large. The Japanese serow color can range from white to grayish and generally lightens during summer. The fur and tail are bushy. The Formosan serow has a dark tan in color with yellow spots on the body. Their horns are generally conical in shape and are usually small in all species and are moved and tilted backward.

How cute are they?

Serows look like antelopes and goats and generally have black, gray, or white shades on their body and live in natural settings like the forest and dense mountain areas. They cannot be described as cute in appearance. If you like animals like goats and antelopes and find them cute, you may also find serows cute.

How do they communicate?

Different serow species use different visual, smelling, and acoustic techniques and methods to communicate. The Japanese serow uses scent and certain visual and behavior patterns to show and mark their territory to other serows and animals. Scent marking is the primary method. They also call to their offspring using the same technique. Other serow species also use similar techniques and actions through horns and acoustic methods to communicate with one another and give signs about their territory to other animals.

How big is a serow?

Different species of serows have various size patterns. The average size is around 31-72 in (79-183 cm). The Japanese serow can grow up to 28-33 in (70–85 cm) in size. The Sumatran serow can grow up to 6 ft (1.8 m) long and grow up to 3 ft (0.9 m) tall. The Formosan serows can grow up to 31-45 in (80-114 cm). Information about the sizing of the red serow is not available yet.

How fast can a serow run?

Serows can run fast. Among all the four species, the Japanese and Formosan serows are known to be the fastest. The Japanese serows are often used as symbols for speed and agility. Yamaha Motors often names its bike models after the serow. The Formosan serow can run really fast, up to 12 mph (20 kph). They can also leap as high as 6.5 ft (2 m).

How much does a serow weigh?

The average weight also differs from species to species. The average weight is 55-331 lb (25-150 kg). The weight of Japanese serow is between 66–99 lb (30–45 kg). The weight of Sumatran serow can be up to 331 lb (150 kg). The weight of Formosan serows can be  55–77 lb (25–35 kg). Information about the red serow is not yet clear and specified.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names for males and females. They are generally referred to as a male serow and a female serow, respectively.

What would you call a baby serow?

A baby serow can be referred to as a calf or a fawn.

What do they eat?

Serows are herbivorous and folivorous animals who feed basically on fleshy coniferous leaves, plant shoots, and acorns. The Japanese serow eats alder, sedge, Japanese cedar, and Japanese witch-hazel. The other species eat grass, shoots, leaf, thick vegetation, vines, ferns, herbs. Some serow species also lick salt minerals from mineral rocks and mountains.

Are they dangerous?

The serow is not known to be an aggressive animal, but it lives in a deep mountain forest. They can become hostile sometimes if they feel like their territory is being breached. The Sumatran serow can tolerate a bit of human interference. Hence, they cannot be termed dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

As most of the serow species are considered to be Endangered and are under the protected list of animals. Hence, wanting to keep them as a pet is not a good option.

Did you know...

Did you know that the etymology of serow can be traced back to the mid 19th century to the word 'Lepcha sā-ro' or a long-haired goat? They were looked upon as goats and antelopes in ancient times, but later, they were added to the genus Capricornis that includes all its four species. They prefer living in high-altitude mountain ranges.

Who is the predator of a serow?

During ancient times, the Asiatic wolves used to hunt the ancient serows, but in recent history, the main hunters and predators of serow are humans for different uses and purposes. During 1955, the Japanese serow was close to extinction due to over poaching and hunting. In the recent past, humans hunt serows as they are an important source of meat and hide. Hunting serow was also associated with the Matagi culture. Humans used to use the serow's small intestine, other body parts like horns for medicine and food. The wild Asiatic black bear is another animal that is also known to be a predator of serow.

First known use of serow?

The first known use of serow dates back to 1847. They were mainly hunted for medicinal needs and a source of meat in many areas like Japan.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our ghost bat facts and American mink facts pages.

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

Serow Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Leaves, plant shoots, acorns, other greens

What Type of Animal were they?

Herbivore

Average Litter Size?

1

How Much Did They Weigh?

55-331 lb (25-150 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

high altitude mountains, dense forests, eastern, western, and central himalayas, snow mountains

Where Do They Live?

eastern china, india, himalayas, sumatran ranges, japan

How Long Were They?

31-72 in (79-183 cm)

How Tall Were They?

28-33 in (70-84 cm)

Class

Mammalia

Genus

Capricornis

Family

Bovidae

Scientific Name

Capricornis crispus, Capricornis sumatraensis, Capricornis rubidus, Capricornis swinhoei

What Do They Look Like?

Black, white, tints of red

Skin Type

Fur

What Are Their Main Threats?

humans, habitat fragmentation, predators

What is their Conservation Status?

Endangered
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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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