The smallest species of deer in the UK, Muntjac are often elusive and secretive. In this video I explain what muntjac eat, where muntjac live, what muntjac look like and lots of other facts about muntjac.
Here is the script from the video:
Muntjac are also known as reeves muntjac or Chinese muntjac and as this suggests they are non native to the UK. They were first introduced at Woburn park in Bedfordshire in the early 19 hundreds and soon escaped into the neighbouring countryside. Since then they have been deliberately introduced to various other sites around the country and are now found across most of the UK.
Muntjac are the smallest species of deer found in the UK, growing to 50cm tall at the shoulder and to no more than 18 kg in weight. They are vibrant brown throughout the spring and summer with a more duller, almost grey colour in the colder months. Only the male muntjac grow antlers, which are usually single pronged and grow out of fur covered pedicles on the top of their heads. Both sexes have dark V shaped markings on their faces and they have a short tail that they raise when alarmed to display a white underside. Muntjac also have a large gland beneath each eye from which they secrete pheromones. They sometimes rub these glands on twigs and branches to leave messages to other muntjac in the area.
Muntjac have a wide diet that varies throughout the seasons and includes leaves, shoots, bark, fruit, grasses, bulbs and mushrooms. Because of the variety of their diets, muntjac can live in pretty much any habitat, including woodlands, farmland, wetlands and they are becoming more common in urban areas, including gardens parks and cemeteries. Muntjac are active throughout the 24 hour period and are more likely to move around after dark where they are likely to come into contact with people.
Unlike most other species of deer muntjac do not have a defined breeding season and breed throughout the year. The males, which are known as bucks hold loose territories and will mate with any receptive females they come across. The females, which are known as does will then be pregnant for seven months before giving birth to a spotted coloured young which is known as a fawn. These fawns are up on their feet and following their mothers around from shortly after birth. they gradually loose their spots over the next 2 to 4 weeks. After 8 weeks the fawns are fully weaned but may stay with their mothers for several more months before becoming completely independent.
In the wild muntjac can have a surprisingly long life span with bucks being recorded as living to 16 years of age and does reaching more than 19 years of age. This long life, their ability to live pretty much anywhere and breed throughout the year has contributed towards the muntjacs colonization of the UK and there are currently thought to be more than 40,000 of them living here.
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