One of the more unusual features of the southern serow is its swimming ability. This probably explains why it has successfully colonized various islands.

This is the most widespread of three species of serow living in large parts of China, the Himalayan region, South-east Asia and parts of Indonesia. The other two species are restricted to the islands of Taiwan and the Japanese archipelago. Serows are related to goats, and similarly live on rocky slopes. Both males and females possess sharp horns rarely more than 25cm (10in) long, which can inflict deadly injuries to hunting dogs.

Solitary by nature, serows generally seek food in the early morning and at dusk, but rest during the day. They have been heavily hunted, because of a belief that their tissue has medicinal value. In spite of being given official protection, the illicit trade in their body parts continues. This has meant that in some areas, such as Thailand, they are now rarely observed outside protected reserves. The destruction of their habitat has contributed to their decline.

Distribution: Ranges from India eastwards to southern China, also occurring in southeastern Asia, across Thailand and Malaysia to the island of Sumatra

Habitat: Bush and forest at 2,000 - 9,000 ft (600 - 2,700 m)

Weight: 85 - 140 kg (187 - 309 lb)

Length: 165cm (65in), including tail; no marked difference between sexes

Maturity: From about 2.5 years

Gestation Period: 217 - 248 days

Breeding: Usually 2; young remain with their mother for about a year

Food: Feeds on a wide range of vegetation, usually preferring to browse on leaves

Lifespan: 10 - 15 years


Horns in both sexes curve backwards to sharp points. They can measure up to 28 cm (11 in) in males.


A long, shaggy mane of lighter hair runs down the back, extending beyond the shoulders.


There is a large gland, called a tear pocket, which extends down the face from the corner of each eye.


The legs are quite slender and relatively long, compared with the length of the body.


These serows frequent areas of open forest with limestone cliffs. They are adept at jumping and climbing in this terrain.