INDIAN CHEVROTAIN/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus


DESCRIPTION: India’s smallest deer, the Mouse Deer or the Indian Chevrotain,
is a unique ruminant with a three chambered stomach instead of a four-chambered one. It has a speckled olive–brown coat with clear white stripes and spots; the stripes are formed by the merging of spots across the shoulder and parts of the
rump. The venters are creamish beige, and the head and face are dark brown. The
legs are dark grey, and it has large hooves and a wedge-shaped body that allows it
to scurry through bushes. Neither sex has antlers, but both have long canines. Only
adult males have canines protruding below the lip line; females are small and
stud-like. There is no clear difference in other morphometrics of both sexes. This primitive deer has relatives in South–East Asia and West Africa.

BEHAVIOUR: The Mouse Deer usually makes its den in a tree hollow. As it is
shy, small, well camouflaged and does not vocalize often, it is usually overlooked.
In hot weather, it pants with its mouth open.

DISTRIBUTION: Peninsular India, all through southern India, northwards atleast up to a line drawn between Palamau in Jharkhand in the east through Mandla
and Hoshangabad to Udaipur. There have
been past records in Nepal and recent sightings also may show a larger distribution, but this may be discontinuous. More records are required to clearly indicate a pan-India occurrence.

HABITAT: Deciduous, semi-evergreen and evergreen forests, and plantation forests. Seems to prefer moist forests, and frequents riverine patches and waterways but can also be found in tall grassland.

Size: 25–59 cm,

Weight: 2–4 kg

IUCN Status: Least Concern

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