Mudumalai is one place where as soon as you hop off the bus, you are greeted by the sight of Spotted deer also known as Chital that can be found grazing without any worries in the open area behinf the camp. These deer are usually very shy and will run as fast as their legs the minute they sense trouble.
These deer are extremely watchfull and alert and will prop their ears up at the first sign of trouble, then they hold their tails upright to signal others in the herd and bound off into the tree line. Males also called stags, have elaborate antlers that are hard and tough during the dry season, but during the wet season, they get richly supplied with blood vessels and develop a fuzzy coat, also called the velvet. But when it is time for the rut, i.e. the mating fights between males for dominance, they sport the hard, tough antlers, which are used to fight with rival competing males.
The spotted deer is called so because of the spotted coat that it exhibits all through the year.
The feamles or does do not sport antlers and they are always seen protecting the young fawns.
At the Mudumalai summer camp site, if you do get a chance to sit in the hall at night, all you have to do is shine a torch towards the volleyball court, and you will see ten, twenty, sometimes thirty eyes staring right back at you through the darkness. Take a step closer and you will their characteristic alarm call pierce the night sky and wake up the rest of your camp mates. Another step closer and off they go, bounding away into the darkness. Switch off your torch light and they’re back in ten minutes going about their business as usual, until you switch your torch back on again.
Take a walk into the clearing the next day and you will find trampled grass, deer scat and hoof prints all around. The true signs of being in nature’s lap.