Theyre roly poly and about the size of a rabbit. On this Wildlife Wednesday, we talk about the Java mouse-deer!
Last week, we learned about the world’s smallest primate. On this Wildlife Wednesday, we’re keeping on with the theme of small creatures by talking about one of the world’s smallest hoofed animals—the Java mouse-deer.
These little leaf munchers can be found creeping through second-growth forests in Indonesia and Malaysia.
- Since they measure in at a towering 12 in (30 cm), they’re a lot closer to Thumper’s size than they are to Bambi’s.
- So, what do you eat when you’re a deer the size of a rabbit? Well, these grazers like to munch on leaves, shrubs, shoots, fungi, and the occasional seed or piece of fallen fruit. Yum!
- Unlike their larger cousins, these little bucks don’t shed their antlers each year—mainly because they don’t have antlers.
- Male Java mouse-deer do, however, sport a pair of tusklike incisors that they use to defend themselves and their mates.
Why are they threatened?
These rabbit-sized grazers are currently listed as “data deficient” by the IUCN, but researchers suspect that their numbers may be on the decline.
They’re particularly vulnerable to being hunted at night because, well, when a light is shone upon them, they tend to freeze like deer in a spotlight. This vulnerability makes them easy prey for poachers, who sell them as pets and for their meat.
Habitat degradation is another major threat, mainly as illegal logging and farming practices.