They are primarily herbivores, dining on tender grasses and low-lying plant matter in their forest homes throughout Asia and select regions of Africa.
They lay low during the day, preferring to dine in the evening or under the protection of darkness.
This is because their small size makes thema nice snack for nearly any carnivorous animal in their ecosystems.
Male mouse deer have a pair of sharp, needle-like fangs which they use to battle other males for control over areas or to assert their dominance.
But those sharp teeth aren’t very suitable for self-defence.
Instead, when a male deer mouse is startled, he will stomp his feet to alert other animals before dashing off in a zig-zag pattern.
Their spindly legs, sharp hooves, and small bodies mean they can vanish almost instantly while easily navigating a variety of terrain.
But their strongest defence is their ability to hold their breath. Mouse deer can remain fully submerged in ponds or rivers for more than 4 minutes!
Resurfacing for a few seconds will reset the clock and allow them to dive again.
This means that if they are able to find water, they’ll often just wait out their hunters and return to shore once the threat is gone.
They are shy creatures, preferring to live mostly alone or with a single partner.
We’re guessing you may not have known what a mouse deer was before you read about them today. We hope you enjoyed this in-depth look at these fascinating critters as much we did writing it for you!
Scientists have discovered that chevrotains might be related to some of the animals that evolved into whales and hippos! Talk about a size difference!
A chevrotain can stomp its feet at a rate of 4 to 7 times per second. Combined with their hard hooves, this creates quite an alarming noise for anything threatening this tiny creature.
Chevrotains have four chambers in their stomach and digest much of their food through fermentation!
Mouse deer motherhood is a fast experience. Most babies can walk within an hour of birth and will be completely weaned by three months. By 5 months, they’ll be getting ready to find a mate of their own!
See these cute mouse deer snack on apples and scamper about in this footage from Kritter Klub.