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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Lesser Mousedeer

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5


Family : Tragulidae
Species : Tragulus kanchil

Head-Body Length : 42-49 cm
Tail Length : 6-9 cm
Weight : 1.4-2.5 kg

This shy, diminutive, even-toed ungulate, measures has a head-body length of less than 50 cm long. It ekes a living on the floor of primary and secondary forests feeding on leaves, shoots, fruits and sometimes fungi. It is mainly crepuscular (i.e. active early morning and late afternoon), but is sometimes nocturnal.

The fur is mainly reddish-brown, with white markings on the neck, and the underparts are pale. The legs are delicate and slender, the body arched, and the tail usually tucked beneath the hind-quarters.

Males have small protruding canines and, beneath the chin, a swollen intra-mandibular gland which is used for territorial marking and in reproductive behaviour. Females also possess this gland, but it is much less swollen and difficult to discern in photographs.

The species is identified by the characteristic inverted chevron pattern on the throat and upper chest.

The species ranges from southern China, Indochina (Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia) and Thailand through Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to Sumatra and Borneo.

Fig 1 : A male Lesser Mousedeer in secondary forest, Singapore. Note the small protruding canines.

Fig 2 : Another example from Singapore. It lacks protruding canines and is probably a female.

Fig 3 : This animal was active at night in an area of degraded forest-edge habitat in southern Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 4 : Close-up of a male from Singapore, showing the protruding canines and the swollen intra-mandibular gland beneath the chin.

Fig 5 : Example from Peninsular Malaysia, crossing a shallow stream in freshwater swamp forest shortly after dusk.

References : M1, M2