The Muntjac Deer: A Graceful and Elusive Creature

Barking deer Muntjac Deer

With its small stature, unique appearance, and distinct features, the Muntjac deer stands out among its larger and more well-known relatives. They are often referred to as the Barking deer due to their special vocalization and are also known as the Rib-faced deer for their distinctiveness. Native to South Asia and Southeast Asia, most of the species are listed as least-concern species by the IUCN. 

In this article, we will explore the world of Muntjac deer, their habitat, and the features which make them an elusive creature.

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Habitat and Distribution:

Barking deer Muntjac Deer

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Muntjac deer is native to South and Southeast Asia, and distributed across various countries including India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Vietnam, Taiwan, Southern China, and a few islands of Indonesia. They inhabit dense vegetation, rainforests, monsoon forests, and mostly the areas closer to the water sources.

There are several subspecies within the Muntjac genus, but the most well-known and studied is the Indian Muntjac which is mostly found in the lower Himalayas or Terai regions of Nepal and Bhutan.

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Diet: 

Muntjacs are primarily herbivores, feeding on a variety of vegetation including leaves, shrubs, grass, shoots, and fruits. They also play a significant role in seed dispersal due to their diet habits. 

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Barking deer Muntjac Deer

 

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Small and slender bodies covered with short and bristly fur:

Muntjac deer are only 1-2 feet tall and have short fur that can vary in color from reddish-brown to dark brown.

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Barking deer Muntjac Deer

One of the defining characteristics of the Muntjac deer is its impressive set of antlers. Unlike other deer species, both males and females possess antlers, although those of males are more prominent. Despite having antlers they tend to fight for territory with their tusks, which are varied in shape in different species of their kind. 

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Scent glands:

One of the most distinguishing features is that the Muntjac deer have various scent glands that are used while communicating with other fellows and marking territory. Mostly their glands are opened during urination and defecation, sometimes during social displays also. 

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Barking deer Muntjac Deer

Muntjac deer have always been a topic of discussion among wildlife researchers and scientists due to their dramatic chromosome variations. 

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They don’t have any specific breeding season, and mating can take place at any time of year. They are also called “Barking Deer” due to their high pitch bark-like calls which they use to communicate and alert their kin. Despite their small stature Muntjacs exhibit incredible agility and gracefulness in their movements, hence they are one of the most elusive creatures. 

 

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