Spot the Fawn in the Picture!
Now you see him; now you don’t! He may be barely a few weeks old, and look as cute as a button, but that’s only when you manage to spot him (please don’t tell us he was born ‘spotted’; we’ve only heard that one 13774 times). For, the young Fawn is a champion hide-n-seeker. Of course, there is the small matter of this being a game where the ‘winner eats all’, for in the predator-dense landscape of the Kabini biosphere, concealment is the most important skill in the survival toolkit for a young herbivore. His Houdini-esque skills have been sharpened by the best tutor in this neck of the woods: his mom! As someone with a vested interest in his survival, she takes an active interest in not advertising his arrival… so no baby showers or boisterous rumbles in the jungles for her. The moment her Fawn is born, the Doe licks him from tip to toe, to erase as much of the scent as possible. Then she moves him from the birthing place to another hideout while she returns to eat up the placenta and destroy any evidence that may alert predators. Job done, she heads back to give her baby a master-class in disguise and concealment, with special vocalizations and nudges. Within a short while, she has a well-trained soldier who can drop dead at the sound of a pin falling, and stay motionless for hours, thereby proving that to be a survivor in the high-stakes game of Jungle Hide-n-seek, you also have to be a champ at playing ‘Statue’! But if you ever get lucky enough to watch a young fawn gambolling, you’ll count it as one of life’s unalloyed pleasures… though the cost of being spotted may prove very deer (sorry, but we just couldn’t help that!) for him.
We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.