Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Chinese Muntjac

Muntiacus reevesi

The Chinese muntjac is the world’s smallest species of deer and is known as the “barking deer” because it can make a dog-like sound when alarmed by a predator.

Range & Habitat

Their natural range includes highly vegetative forests, woodlands and farmlands in China and Taiwan, and they have also been introduced to the United Kingdom.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Least Concern however, uncontrolled hunting in some areas is causing population numbers to decline.

Diet

In the Wild: Bramble, ferns, ivy, tender shoots, tree bark, seeds, grass and fruit. At the Zoo: Hay, grass, apples, carrots, peanuts and grapes.

Life Span

In the Wild: 10-13 years; In Human Care: Up to 19 years.

Fun Facts about the Chinese Muntjac

  • Both male and female Chinese muntjac have canine tusks that protrude out of their mouths from their upper jaws. Males use their tusks for battling each other for a female, and both sexes use tusks for self-defense. Since Chinese muntjac live in dense brush, having an effective weapon like tusks is more beneficial to them than having elaborate horns or antlers that could get tangled up in the vegetation.
  • Chinese Muntjac are also known as barking deer. They will produce a barking sound when they feel threatened to alert others of the nearby danger.
  • Chinese muntjac are extremely small, standing just over a foot tall at most.

Sources

Muntjac deer. (2020). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/mammals/muntjac-deer

Muntjac Muntiacus reevesi. (2020). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-in-norfolk/species-explorer/mammals/muntjac

Muntjac – fun facts and information for kids. (2020). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.folly-farm.co.uk/zoo/meet-the-zoo-animals/chinese-muntjac/

Rogers, N. (2019, May 17). Why 'Vampire Deer' Have Fangs, While Other Hoofed Mammals Have Horns. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/why-vampire-deer-have-fangs-while-other-hoofed-mammals-have-horns

Timmins. (2015, November 18). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/42190/56005589

Updated December 2, 2020
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