Meet The Chevrotain: The Cutest Little Animal You’ve Never Heard Of
Mouse deer, pig deer, little goat: the chevrotain goes by many different names. No matter what you call it, it is one of the most unique and adorable creatures you’ll ever see.
With long gangly legs, a round body, and little bitty ears, it sort of looks like someone stuck a mouse head on a deer body. Amazingly, its behaviors are just as unique as its appearance. Keep reading to learn more!
Mouse Deer Aren’t Actually Mice Or Deer
In appearance, the chevrotain most resembles a miniature deer – so you may be surprised to learn that it’s an entirely different species. Chevrotain are a group of several different types of small hoofed animals, all belonging to the family Tragulidae. They live in the warmer parts of Africa and Asia, and tend to be solitary, nocturnal feeders.
They Have Tiny Little Vampire Fangs
Chevrotain may appear cuddly and cute at first glance, but take a closer look and you’ll see a vicious set of fangs. The tusk-like teeth are used by males to challenge each other during mating season, and all mouse deer use them as defense from predators. Don’t let the large large teeth scare you, though: Chevrotain eat a 100% vegetarian diet.
They Are Super Shy
Don’t bother taking a trip to Africa just to see a chevrotain. Your chances are slim to none. Because of their diminutive size, mouse deer are often preyed on by other animals. As a result, they are very reclusive and difficult to spot. In fact, chevrotain don’t even hang out with each other: they typically graze alone and only come together to mate.
They Are Incredibly Athletic
Don’t let the mouse deer’s skinny legs and tiny size fool you: these little animals are strong, agile, and quick. Most impressively, many species of chevrotain will take to the water to escape predators. As part of their escape maneuvers, they will dive under water, grab onto a rooted plant to avoid being swept away, and anchor themselves to the bottom for up to four full minutes.
They Are Hunted For Their Meat
Think the mouse deer looks too tiny to eat? Think again. Chevrotain have been hunted by many species, including men, for thousands of years. Humans use traps, dogs, and guns to hunt the small mammals, much like they would a rabbit or pheasant. It is said that the meat from the chevrotain is some of the most delicious game you can get.
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