Indian Muntjac


ORDER: Artiodactyla

FAMILY: Cervidae

GENUS: Muntiacus

SPECIES: muntjak

DESCRIPTION:
Weight variously reported as 40-60 pounds and height at shoulder 23-30 inches. Coloration varies from deep brown to yellowish or grayish brown with creamy or whitish markings. Body is covered with short, soft hairs, except for the ears, which are sparsely haired. Antlers are carried on long, bony hair-covered pedicels. These pedicels do not originate on the top of the skull as in other deer, but extend some distance down the face, visible externally as prominent ridges. Antlers usually are just spikes. The upper canine teeth of the males are elongated into tusks. Females have small bony knobs and tufts of hair where the antlers occur in the males.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Forests of India and Nepal to southern China, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Malay peninsula and Indonesia.

DIET:
Grasses, leaves, shoots, and fallen fruit.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Females reach sexual maturity within a year of age and are polyestrous, with a cycle of 14-21 days and estrus lasting about two days. Gestation is about 210 days. Young is born in dense jungle, where it remains hidden until it can move about with its mother. Life span is 17 years in captivity.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Tusks are capable of inflicting serious injuries to other animals. They are also called barking deer since they make a deep, bark like sound; if they sense a predator they will "bark" for an hour or more.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
Muntjacs are considered a relatively primitive group of deer, because of their small size and because the males have enlarged upper canines. A new species of muntjac called the Giant Muntjac was just found in 1992 in Vietnam. It weighs 88-110 lb (40-50 kg).

OUR ANIMALS:
1 Male. 1 Female.

STATUS IN WILD:
Muntjac are hunted for their meat and skins. They are considered a nuisance in some areas because they destroy trees by ripping off the bark. Some species of muntjac are endangered, but not the species at the Zoo.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Linden, Eugene. "Ancient Creatures", Time Magazine, June 20, 1994, p. 52.
  2. Nowak, Ronald. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Vol. 2. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD pp. 1094-96. CL: 7/94, 9/04
  3. Putnam, Rory. 1988. Natural History of Deer, Cornell U, Ithica, NY, pp. 16.

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