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Chevrotain (Family: Tragulidae) - Wiki
Subject: Chevrotain (Family: Tragulidae) - Wiki
Mouse Deer 2.jpg
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Chevrotain (Family: Tragulidae) - Wiki

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[Photo] mouse deer, specimen can be seen at Field Museum. Photo by Ancheta Wis (

The four species of chevrotain, also known as mouse deer (not to be confused with deer mice, Peromyscus), make up the family Tragulidae. Chevrotains are small, secretive creatures, now found only in the tropical forests of Africa, India, and South-east Asia. They are the only living members of the infraorder Tragulina.

The family was widespread and successful from the Oligocene (34 million years ago) to the Miocene (about 5 million years ago), but has remained almost unchanged over that time and remains as an example of primitive ruminant form. Chevrotains have a four-chambered stomach to ferment tough plant foods, but the third chamber is poorly developed. They do not have horns or antlers, but both sexes possess enlarged upper canines. The male's are prominent and sharp, projecting either side of the lower jaw. Chevrotains have short, thin legs which leave them lacking in agility but also helps to maintain a smaller profile which aids in running through the dense foliage of their environment.

The largest member of the family is the Water Chevrotain of Africa, at about 80 cm in length and roughly 10 kilograms. It is regarded as the most pig-like and primitive of the four. The remaining three all prefer rocky forest habitats. The Lesser Mouse Deer (Malay kancil) of South-east Asia is the smallest, and is actually the smallest of all ungulates at a mature size as little as around 45 cm (18 inches) and 2 kg (4.4 lb).

All four species depend for their survival on the retention of their fast-dwindling forest habitat and restriction of the bush meat trade.

In Malay folklore, the mouse deer plays the same role as the wily fox of European fables.

o Family Tragulidae
+ Water Chevrotain, Hyemoschus aquaticus
+ Indian Spotted Chevrotain, Moschiola meminna
+ Moschiola kathygre( New species )
+ Lesser Mouse Deer, Tragulus javanicus
+ Greater Mouse Deer, Tragulus napu
o Family Moschidae: musk deer
o Family Cervidae: deer
o Family Giraffidae: Giraffe and Okapi
o Family Antilocapridae: Pronghorn
o Family Bovidae: cattle, goats, sheep, and antelope

Ancient Chevrotains

* Dorcatherium
* Dorcabune
* Siamotragulus
* Yunnanotherium
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forest mice
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