Budorcas taxicolor tibetana
KINGDOM: Animalia (Animals)
PHYLUM: Chordata (Possessing a notochord)
CLASS: Mammalia (Mammals)
ORDER: Artiodactyla (Even-toed Ungulates)
FAMILY: Bovidae (Cloven-hoofed, ruminant mammals)
SUB-FAMILY: Caprinae (Goat-antelopes)
GENUS: Budorcas (Takins)
SPECIES: Budorcas taxicolor tibetana (Sichuan Takin)
The Sichuan takin is native to the eastern margin of the Tibetan plateau. Here, its distribution runs from the Min mountains along the provincial border of Sichuan-Gansu (in China), south through the Qionglai mountains west of Chengdu to the border with the Chinese Yunnan Province.
The Sichuan takin is a large goat antelope and resembles a mixture between a goat and a cow. It has a large, stocky body with short legs that end in two-toed hooves. The large, horned head has an arched muzzle with a broad, naked nose. The straw-colored fur (with gray patches on legs, back and rump) is thick and shaggy and usually hides the tail.
These takins prefer to live in high mountain habitats. They can be found in a variety of environments from rocky, grass covered alpine zones to forested valleys.
Takins are herbivores (plant-eaters). The Sichuan takin will eat leaves, bamboo shoots, grasses, herbs or twigs. They can tolerate many plants with volatile bitter oils such as wormwood or sagebrush. Salt is also an important part of their diets, and groups may stay at a mineral deposit for several days.
Sichuan takins are social animals and live in groups (called herds) of up to 300 in summer months. When in danger, an individual warns the other members of the herd with a coughing sound. During winter months herds may number up to 20 individuals. There are seasonal migrations from upper elevations in the summer to lower areas in the winter.
These takins are polygynandrous (males and females will both have several mates). Males will bellow as a means of attracting a female and will fight over mating rights to a female by head-butting. Males sometimes find a female by tracking her scent. When a pair come together the male licks the female to determine if she is receptive.
After a gestation period of about 7-8 months, a single offpring (called a kid) is born. Kids will be able to follow their mother around within 3 days of birth. They will be weaned at about 2 months old although they may not leave their mother until she has another baby. At six months old their horns start to come through. Sexual maturity is reached at about 5 years. They can live up to about 16 years old.
Snow leopards prey on young takin but are not able to bring down an adult. Bears and wolves are able to hunt adults.
Overhunting, habitat loss and disturbance due to tourism are significant threats to Sichuan takin.
Did you know?
- Sichuan takins secrete an oily, strong-smelling substance over their whole body
- Takins can jump nimbly
- They occasionally rear onto two legs, prop their feet on a tree trunk, and browse very high (up to 3m)
- During the day they hide in dense vegetation and will rest
- When sleeping they rest their head on their outstretched legs