A rare mini-Bambi born in a Spanish zoo in 2014 has put the tiny Java mouse-deer on the front page and in everyone’s mind! Seldom seen in zoos, the miniature Java mouse-deer starts off the size of a hamster, weighing less than ¼ lb. When full grown, the tiny-hoofed critter will grow no bigger than a small rabbit, with legs the size of pencils, and weigh no more than 2 lbs. The Java mouse-deer (Tragulus javanicus) is the smallest living ungulate (animals with hooves).
The tiny Java mouse-deer is extremely shy, intelligent, and although it has no antlers or horns, it does have cute little tusks sticking out from its upper jaw to help protect itself from terrifying beasts such as rabbits and house cats. The Java mouse-deer can be seen running around the tropical rainforests (they travel in herds just like cows), through tiny tunnels they make through the thick brush, looking for insects and small plants to eat.
To add to their cuteness, when threatened, they frantically beat their little hooves against the ground at a rate of about 7 strikes per second creating a “drum roll” like sound (it might not scare anyone but will sure make them watch where they step!)
The Java mouse-deer’s preferred habitat, tropical forests on the island of Java in Southeast Asia, is under threat from deforestation. Sadly, that’s not the only threat they must watch out for. One of the main predators which the Java mouse-deer face is humans. The Java mouse-deer is also considered a delicacy in Asia. People in the area hunt them down for snacks. Occasionally they are trapped and kept as pets too.
Image CreditsJava mouse deer Tragulus javanicus via Wikimedia Commons by Mahbob Yusof with usage type - Creative Commons License. November 7, 2009
Java mouse deer Tragulus javanicus in Frankfurt Zoo via Wikimedia Commons with usage type - Creative Commons License. May 5, 2010
Java mouse deer in Ueno Zoo, Tokyo via Wikimedia Commons by Sakurai Midori with usage type - GNU Free. March 15, 2008
Tragulus javanicus Java mouse deer via Wikimedia Commons by Eva Hejda with usage type - Creative Commons License. February 3, 2006
Java mouse deer via Wikimedia Commons with usage type - Creative Commons License. August 8, 2019
Java mouse deer with terrifying fangs via Wikimedia Commons with usage type - Creative Commons License. August 8, 2019
Java mouse deer closeup of head, ears, and eye via Wikimedia Commons by Kitty Terwolbeck with usage type - Creative Commons License. November 26, 2013
Tragulus Javanicus (Lesser Malay Mouse-deer) in the Jerusalem Zoo via Wikimedia Commons with usage type - GNU Free. October 29, 2011