Japanese Serow

(Capricornis crispus)




Facts about this animal

The Japanese serow is a large chamois with a head-body length of up to 180 cm, height at shoulder of up to 110 cm, and a body-weight of up to 140 kg. It has a naked nose pad, long, narrow and pointed ears, well-developed antorbital glands and, in both sexes, slightly curved horns of 8-15 cm length. There are conspicuous white cheek beards, but no well-developed mane. The hooves are short and the tail is moderately bushy.

The Japanese serow wears a coat of long hairs varying from white to purplish black in colour, giving a mottled grey appearance on the upper parts and being lighter on the under parts. The legs are dark brown or black, and there may be a dark "collar" encircling the lower neck. The ears are covered in brown hair, while the bridge of the nose is dark and naked.

Serows are usually solitary but sometimes are found in pairs or family groups of up to seven. They are territorial. The rutting season is in fall or winter. After a gestation period of 200 to 230 days, a single kid weighing about 3.5 kg is born during the months of May to September. The kid will reach full size and leave the mother’s territory at 12 months and become sexually mature by 3 years.

Did you know?
that serows are the most primitive living Caprinae? Fossils of serowsappear in the late Pliocene of 7 to 2 million years ago, and also the oldest known fossil Caprinae dating back 35 million years closely resemble serows.


Name (Scientific) Capricornis crispus
Name (English) Japanese Serow
Name (French) Serow
Name (German) Japanischer Serau
Name (Spanish) Serow del JapĆ³n
Local names Japanese: Kamoshika
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Aaron Logan



Range Central and southern Japan
Habitat Subalpine forest
Wild population 100.000 (1983) and the population is increasing (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 31 reported to ISIS

In the Zoo

Japanese Serow


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The Japanese serow is not a threatened species and is only rarely kept by zoos. It is of educational interest, in Japan as an important element of the native fauna, in other parts of the world to familarise people with the lesser known fauna of Japan, e.g. along with Japanese macaques and Japanese sika deer, or to allow for a comparison with native rupicaprine species, such as the Alpine chamois in Europe, or the Mountain goat in North America.