Muntjac (Sp), Südost Chinesischer, Reeves Muntjac (G), Muntjac de Reeves (F).
Also called Chinese muntjac, barking deer or rib-faced deer. Named for British naturalist John Reeves, who collected the type specimen about 1838.
DESCRIPTION A very small deer. (male) Shoulder height 18-20 inches (46-51 cm). Weight 26-30 pounds (12-14 kg). Females are slightly smaller. General color is reddish-brown, with the legs darker and a black stripe on the back of the neck. A broad black stripe runs up the middle of the face and branches up the horn pedicels, forming the letter "Y." The underparts, throat, chin, and underside of the long tail are white. Antlers, which grow from bony, hair-covered pedicels, consist of a short, gently curved spike with a single, very short tine close to the base. Upper canine teeth of the male are elongated into tusks that protrude from the lips. The female has small, bony knobs and hair tufts in place of antlers, and does not have tusks.
BEHAVIOR Solitary or in pairs. Territorial. There is no fixed mating season, and fawns (normally one) may be born at any time of year. Feeds at night but also during the day if undisturbed. Browses on shrubs, also eats acorns, fruit and some grass. Usually near water. Runs with a characteristic hunched posture. The male has a remarkably loud bark that may be repeated for an hour or more when alarmed or during the rut.
HABITAT Woodland with thick undergrowth.
DISTRIBUTION In about 1900, Indian muntjacs (Muntiacus muntjak) were imported by the Duke of Bedford to his estate at Woburn Abbey, England. In time, it was decided to kill them off and replace them with the smaller and less-aggressive Reeves muntjac (M. reevesi), which are native to eastern China and Taiwan. Some say this effort was not entirely successful and that the two species interbred; if so, the offspring must have been sterile, for scientific tests have confirmed that all muntjacs in England today are M. reevesi, with no evidence of M. muntjak or of hybrids. Many subsequent introductions of Reeves muntjac have been made, and they are now firmly established in the wild in many parts of southern England and are continuing to expand their range. Also introduced in France about 1890, surviving in parks and estates.
REMARKS A good game animal. Hunted by stalking. To the best of our knowledge England is the only place in the world where this species may be hunted by a non-resident.