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It’s a Mouse, It’s a Deer, It’s a Chevrotain!

Photo Courtesy by MNN.com

Photo Courtesy by MNN.com

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What has a mouse head and pig legs? It’s hard to guess, but it’s actually the Chevrotain.

These unique and adorable creatures are called by many names, hence ¨Mouse Deer¨.

It’s also called the ¨Pig Deer¨ or ¨Little Goat¨.

This small creature has the round body of a bunny, pig like feet, and and a face akin to a mouse. This animal looks like a freak of nature, and that it’s just a bunch of animals combined. This little mammal is in fact quite ancient, according to mnn.com.

The family which the Chevrotain belongs to dates back 34 million years ago. The Chevrotain hasn’t changed much, and continues to thrive in its forested habitat. Ten species still survive today in south and southeast Asia, and central and west Africa. All of the ten species are amazingly small, stated by mnn.com.

The smallest is the lesser Malay, weighing only four pounds. The largest species, the water chevrotain, weighs 33 pounds. That still is quite small.

Despite its adorable look, the Chevrotain can be deadly. It has long fangs, usually on a male, and are used to fight each other. Fortunately, they have extra thick fur and robust muscles around the neck and rump, according to mentalfloss.com.

The Water Chevrotain is known for its ability to dive underwater when predators are near. They scrunch up and walk on the bottom of the water to avoid the current taking them away. If there are reeds or plants around, the Water Chevrotain will grip onto it to stay tethered, according to  mentalfloss.com.

Their size interferes with life style. Since they are so small, the Chevrotain is constantly preyed on by many other animals. This leads them to living secluded lives, and are sometimes rarely seen because of nocturnal behavior. Often grazing alone, the Chevrotain only comes together to mate. It also communicates with a series of noises and smells. Their timid behavior does not help scientists study this species easily.

When aggravated, a male Chevrotain will stomp its hooves. This makes a fairly loud sound and is called ¨The drum roll technique¨. It’s used to ward off predators and warn off other Chevrotains if their is any danger. “They can stomp around four to seven times a second,” stated by mentalfloss.com.

The word ¨Chevrotain¨ is French for ¨Little Goat¨, and is not part of the goat nor deer family. The three genres of family names its sorted in are; Tragulus, Moschiola, and Hyemoschus, according to newworldencyclopedia.org.

Apparently, the names Chevrotain and mouse deer are used commonly among the Asian species, though recently authorities have preferred to call it Chevrotain. This creature also has four stomachs chambers. Three are fully developed, while one is not. All ruminants have four stomachs. Moose, goat, cow, northern giraffe, and sheep are all examples of a ruminant species, stated by ultimateungulate.com

This small creature has survived for over 34 million years, even with it’s not so large size. Its outstanding sense of smell and its surroundings help it survive for so long. Living shy timid lives also help the Chevrotain keep its population in decent numbers. With a population of the Water Chevrotains reaching around 278,000 in numbers. That’s only one of the many species.

Most of these species eat grasses and leaves from the forest floor. A Water Chevrotain´s diet may differ. The Water Chevrotain eats a wide variety of fruit, such as; figs, palm nuts, and breadfruit. It’s also known to feed on insects, crabs, and scavenged meat and fish. Relying on its sense of smell to find food helps it get its good portion. With a gut designed to ferment the food, it makes it a bit easier for these little mammals to thrive in their natural habitats, according to arkive.org

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It’s a Mouse, It’s a Deer, It’s a Chevrotain!