My Weird Pet: A Muntjac, [Almost] the World's Smallest Deer (So Cute)
Don't get me wrong-- I love dogs.
But there's something about this little deer. The muntjac has stolen my heart.
I first came across one when I was in a petting zoo near my house. I noticed a small sign for a "Mini-Zoo" while lost in the backwoods a few miles from my home, and I decided to check it out. This petting zoo didn't just house your typical farm animals- the owner was a collector of exotic species.
Two lemurs caught my attention and I was being entertained by their antics when I noticed rustling next to their cage. I was surprised to find a tiny little creature, no taller than a housecat, staring up at me over a short fence.
It was a tiny little deer with big eyes, a wet nose, antlers, and tusks.
I had never seen a deer with tusks, not to mention such a miniature version of the white-tailed deer that I see almost every day in the woods.
I knelt down and stuck my hand into the cage. The muntjac sniffed me and let me stroke its forehead, between its little antlers. What it did next made my heart melt right there-- It leaned its head against the fence and closed its eyes.
Now, I've always been an animal lover, and having a strange deer warm up to me like that was the kind of thing I daydreamed about as a little kid.
And that is how I fell in love with the muntjac, almost the world's smallest deer!
Here a man talks about owning a muntjac, while the deer enjoys some love:
Adorable! Muntjac and dog playing:
Interesting Muntjac Facts:
- The muntjac is mostly found in tropical zones of southern Asia, but has been introduced into temperate areas.
- They were introduced into England in the 20th century, and now inhabit almost all of England and Wales. They are now moving into the Netherlands, Scotland, and Ireland.
- Muntjac males are territorial, and use their antlers and large canines/tusks to fight with other males.
- Some species of muntjacs are called Barking deer, because of the distinctive sound they make.
- The Muntjac is the oldest known species of deer and coexisted with dinosaurs.
- Muntjacs have huge scent glands between their eyes.
- Muntjacs are in competition for the spot as the world's smallest deer. One species of muntjac was discovered in the Himalayas and credited with being the smallest, but most scientists are at a consensus that the smallest deer in the world is the Pudú of South America.
What happened in the end:
After meeting the muntjac from the petting zoo (and going back to visit several times), I spoke to the owner about the possibility it taking him home. Unfortunately, the town that I live in classifies deer as livestock, and my back yard isn't big enough for a livestock permit. But I'll have the muntjac in the back of my mind until I move to a larger place, for sure.
Here's a little gallery of muntjac photos, so you can get your cuteness fix:
And the best for last:
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