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Takin (Budorcas spp.) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding

Diet

  • Generalist herbivores (Schaller 1986)
  • Browse on a variety of grasses, herbs, bamboo shoots, leaves of shrubs and trees. (Song et al 2008)
    • Some 138 species in the Tangjiahe Reserve, Sichuan China (Schaller 1986)
    • Food habits change seasonally; winter forage is poor, animals loose weight
    • Can tolerate many plants with volatile bitter oils such as Artemesia (wormwood, sagebrush)
    • May have low tolerance phenols in Quercus and Pinus

Feeding

  • To access new vegetation, migrate to low altitudes in early spring. (Zeng et al 2008)
  • In autumn and spring: eat high protein content, easily digestible plants
  • In winter: eat mostly twigs, bark of woody plants - poor nutritive quality plants
  • Consume soil at certain localities, perhaps for minerals, or to neutralize toxic plants
  • Lips broad and flexible for selective feeding
  • Can reach higher plants than many other ungulates - up to 2 m (6.6 ft) when standing
    • Occasionally rear onto two legs, prop feet on a tree trunk, browse even higher, up to 3 m (9.8 ft)

Family Meal

Takins feeding on leaves

The diet of takin in the wild changes seasonally, as takin seek out growing plants at different altitudes.

Here, a father and calf enjoy a meal of leaves at the San Diego Zoo.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

Schaller et al. (1986)
Song et al. (2008)

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