Not too long ago, a species of Chevrotain that had not been seen for over 30 years was spotted in Vietnam, and no one can get over how little and adorable these creatures are.
If the mouse deer is your new obsession and you’re curious to know more, well, we’ve got you covered.
7. They have super fierce fangs.
They have two front teeth that are super long and sharp like needles – they use them to stab each other during combat.
6. They’re not deer, nor are they mice.
They do share a suborder with deer (Ruminantia), but have their own family, called Tragulidae.
5. Swimming is a defense mechanism.
The water chevrotain swims underwater to avoid predators – they can even walk on the riverbed in order to avoid being swept along by the current, grabbing hold of reeds to assist.
They can hold their breath for about 4 minutes, but tire easily while swimming.
4. The species vary by weight.
Species can vary in weight from 4 to around 33 pounds, though none get larger than a medium-sized dog.
3. They’re very shy.
They are prey animals, and with nothing but their sharp teeth for protection, all of the species lead fairly secluded, quiet lives. Some are nocturnal, and most graze alone, only hanging out together to mate.
2. There are many variations.
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The chevrotain, one of the smallest hoofed mammals in the world, is known by many names–and comparisons to many other animals. Its common name comes from the French for “little goat.” In English, it’s also called a “mouse-deer.” In Telugu, one of the classical languages of India, it’s called “jarini pandi,” which means “a deer and a pig.“ What does this tiny hoofed critter look like to you? Photo: Bjørn Christen Torrisen. #chevrotain #mousedeer #chevrotains #deer #wildlifephotography #amnh #insideamnh #naturalhistory
The family has two genera (Hyemoschus and Tragulus), and the spotted mouse deer have their own, Moshiola. All look very similar, however.
1. Their hooves are quite loud.
I just love that these little guys are back in the spotlight, and I hope they don’t go back into hiding for another three decades!
What’s your favorite forgotten and/or little known animal? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!