Japanese Serow (Capricornis crispus)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Bovidae
Size:    Length: 39 to 71 inches (100 to 180 cm)  Height: 18 to 36 inches (45 to 91 cm) at the shoulder
Weight: 100 to 300 pounds (45 to 136 kg)
Diet: Leaves, young shoots and nuts
Distribution: Japan
Young:  1 kid, once per year
Animal Predators:  Unknown
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent
Terms: Young: Kid
Lifespan: Average 10 years



·       Japanese serows have extremely acute hearing, sight and sense of smell.

·       If disturbed while resting or eating, they let out an angry alarm call.

·       The serow is considered to be one of Japan’s national treasures.

·       The Japanese serow was first described by Temminck in 1845.



Serows are stocky goats with thick, woolly fur, in varying mixtures of brown, black, grey and white, with brown or black legs. Both males and females have short horns that curve backwards. Their scent glands are located in front of the eyes and excrete a clear substance that smells like vinegar.



Japanese serows are found exclusively in the Japanese regions of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. There are two other species of serows that live on the mainland, in and around China. Japanese serows live in mountain forests, at elevations of 6,000 to 10,000 feet (1,829 to 3,048 m).


Feeding Habits

They eat a plant diet consisting of leaves, young shoots and nuts.



Mating season is from October to November, and the female gives birth to a single kid seven months later. The young serow is weaned at five to six months, leaves the mothers territory at 12 months, and becomes sexually mature by three years. 



Japanese serows live in small family groups, in pairs, or are solitary (usually older serows). Serows are susceptible to heat and come out to feed early in the morning and late in the afternoon, but rest during the hottest part of the day in a cave or cool, rocky overhang. Like most goats, they are extremely sure-footed and agile on steep and rocky mountain slopes and ledges. When threatened, serows tend to become extremely aggressive.



Japanese serows were declared Endangered in 1934, but efforts were taken to save them from extinction and their numbers are now to the point where they are classified as a “Lower Risk” by the IUCN, but “Conservation Dependent,” meaning their habitat is diminishing due to forestry plantations.









Japanese Serow Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US