Musk deer is a mammal that is an intermediate animal between deer and real deer. They include musk deer to representatives of the musk deer family. It includes the only genus of musk deer and a large number of already extinct saber-toothed deer. A related animal is deer.
The appearance of musk deer resembles a deer , but without characteristic horns. In its dimensions, the musk deer reaches one meter of body length with a weight of up to 20 kilograms. The front legs are shorter than the hind legs. Because of this feature, the animal looks stooped. The males are endowed with sharp fangs that protrude from the upper lips. The size of these fangs can reach 9 centimeters. They are used in tournament fights between individuals. The musk deer has a rather short tail with a length of 6 centimeters. The coat is brown and gray on the head. The lower torso is whitish. In young individuals, yellow spots can be observed. The wool itself is mainly from the outer hair, due to which the musk deer has good thermal insulation. Also, the musk deer fur does not allow fluid to pass through, so they keep perfectly afloat and can cross reservoirs.
Species and habitat
At the moment, there are seven species of musk deer, which differ in their habitat. These include:
- Siberian musk deer. Inhabited Siberia and the Far East;
- Himalayan musk deer. Lives mainly in the Himalayas;
- Red-bellied musk deer. Settled in areas of China, as well as in Tibet and Bhutan;
- Anhui musk deer. It lives in the eastern regions of China, in particular, in Anhui Province;
- Musk deer Berezovsky. Gained distribution in China and Vietnam;
- Black musk deer. The habitat is India, Bhutan, Nepal and China;
- Kashmir musk deer. Inhabited the territory of India and Pakistan. It is found in Afghanistan.
Musk deer live mainly at an altitude of 900 meters. Sometimes they can be found on the territory of 1600 meters above the sea. These animals settle in coniferous forests, where they hide from predators and people.
Musk deer leads an active life. Her physiology makes her a great jumper. These animals are capable of galloping to change movement by almost 90 degrees. They are saved from danger like the dexterity of hares . Fleeing, they climb high cliffs and mountains.
Musk deer love a lonely lifestyle. Even groups of related individuals are almost never found. However, they relate to kindred animals quite calmly, while other species experience aggression. Musk deer is inherent in territorial behavior. They protect their chosen area with the glands of musk, which are located on the back of the body.
Musk deer breeding can organize tournament fights during the season, which often end in the death of an opponent. In other periods, the animals are relatively calm.
Also, these amazing mammals are endowed with an extremely subtle and keen ear. They can even hear the crackle of branches and the crunch of snow as another predator approaches. Due to this, the musk deer can hide. When during a period of large blizzards a loud noise raises, the musk deer may not distinguish the sounds of the enemy and may not have time to hide. Hiding from predatory animals , escaping along the ledges that hang over the abyss.
The diet of this animal consists mainly of lichens located under the trees. Due to its dexterity, musk deer can climb a tree and even jump from branches. A warm period of time is characterized by a variety in nutrition. Cedar and fir needles, blueberries, horsetails and ferns appear in the diet.
Musk deer is distinguished by its thrifty relationship with lichens. Even in its locality, in times of famine, it carefully eats the remains of lichens, some of which leaves so that they can sprout.
Musk deer female
The mating season lasts from November to December, during which time they actively mark their territory. This period is extremely fussy for animals, so they become quite aggressive, trying to protect the territory and their chosen ones from potential rivals. The rut is characterized by battles between musk deer, where they intimidate each other, and after which they can engage in deadly fights. Young representatives usually retreat against the more mature ones, because the outcome of the battle may not turn in their direction. When the tournament begins, the musk deer kick each other's legs, while jumping hard to make a strong blow. In fights, fangs are also used, which can seriously injure an opponent. The winning male gets the female.
Many males lose their fangs in battle, as they may not be able to withstand such a force of impact.
The gestation period lasts from 185 to 195 days, as a result of which two cubs are born. They appear in a warm period of time, and literally immediately after birth they are alone. The female leaves her offspring a short distance. At first, she feeds her cubs with milk and protects them from the attack of predatory animals. Literally by 3-5 months, small musk deer live a completely lonely and independent life. Musk deer become sexually mature at the age of six months.
Life expectancy in the wild rarely exceeds 5 years. While in captivity, they are able to live up to 15 years. Due to their ability to produce musk, they are prone to hunting. Since one musk deer can produce up to 20 grams of natural musk, which is of great value.
Video about musk deer