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Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak)

Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak)

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Order / Family: Artiodactyla / Cervidae.
Etymology: from the Indian, muntjak, dwarf deer.
Weight: 30 kg.
Length (body + tail): 75 cm.
Gestation / Incubation: 7 months.
Offspring / Clutch: 1 young.
Lifespan: 15 years.
Diet: omnivorous (grass, fruit, eggs and small animals).
Habitat: tropical forests and mountain jungles, always where there is dense vegetation.
Distribution: north eastern Pakistan, South-East Asia and the islands of Indonesia.
Threats: degradation of habitats, land fragmentation and illegal hunting.
IUCN / CITES: (NT) Not threatened / CITES II.

Did you know...…?

The muntjac is a very timid, evasive animal. Its small size allows it to hide perfectly in the forest thickets, where it is very difficult to catch by leopards and dholes. Its call resembles a bark, so it is also sometimes known as the barking deer.

Very interesting:

the muntjac is a very timid dwarf variety of deer, but thanks to its small size it has managed to adapt very well to the dense forest, making it difficult for leopards and dholes to catch it, though if it’s not careful it can sometimes fall prey to the larger pythons. The males have highly developed upper canines, protruding visibly downwards like threatening tusks, which they use to strip the tree bark on which they feed and to fight amongst each other over females and territory. There are known cases of them defending themselves against dogs, causing them serious injuries.

The males tend to be solitary and mark out their territory with the help of a musk-like secretion produced by glands just in front of the eyes. They allow females to enter their territory, but not other males, which they make no bones about fighting until they have driven them out of the area.

Useful to know:

Stealth is its best weapon for passing by unnoticed; they make very short, high speed movements, giving a robotic impression. These fast-paced movements enable them to pick up noises that may represent a threat and escape in time by running into the denser undergrowth.

The bad news: in some areas, they are hunted for their meat which has decimated or hugely reduced their local populations, and they are also killed because of their habit of eating the bark off fruit trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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