INDIAN OR RED MUNTJAC/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus

INDIAN OR RED MUNTJAC

DESCRIPTION: The more common of the two small Indian forest ruminants, the Barking Deer or Indian Muntjac has a glossy, reddish brown coat and greyish or white underparts. Its forelimbs are longer than the hind limbs. Males have long upper canines that are not always visible. Frontal
ridges on the face are well developed as are two slits indicating a frontal gland. Males have well developed but small antlers that are mounted on long pedicles, and two black lines mark these down the face. Antlers have a short brow tine and at the tips, curve inwards. Females have bony frontal ridges but no antlers. The animal itself is unique in being the mammal with the lowest recorded chromosome number; the male has a diploid number of seven and the female has six chromosomes.

BEHAVIOUR: Although not territorial, males do have home ranges of 6–7 sq. kmthat they scent mark regularly.

DISTRIBUTION: Through most of peninsular India and the Terai, north–eastern India and the low Himalayas. Not present in Kutch, Saurashtra and arid parts of north–western India. M.m. aureus in north and central India, M.m. vaginalis in north–eastern India and M.m. malabaricus in southern India.

HABITAT: Prefers hilly and moist areas, in thick deciduous and evergreen forests but is adaptable enough to be on forest fringe near crops, plantations and secondary forests.

Size: 50–120 cm,

Wt: 20–28 kg

IUCN Status: Least Concern

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