In brief. . .
Where do they come from? The Muntjac or Reeves’ Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) is also known as the Barking Deer because of its dog-like call. Native to South Asia, in the early 20th century it was introduced to Woburn in Bedfordshire, and it later spread into the wild through deliberate releases and escapees.
Antlers: Bucks have short antlers that may reach 10 cm in length; they also have ‘tusks’ or downward-pointing canine teeth.
What else should I know? The British Deer Society estimates that the Muntjac may soon be the most numerous deer species in England. Recently it has spread into Wales and Scotland, and there are populations in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
Background information . . .
The Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) inhabits the tropical regions of South Asia including China, Taiwan, Japan, India and Indonesia.
It was first introduced into Woburn in the early 1900s, and escaped Muntjac soon established themselves in the wild. Although the main concentration of Muntjac is in central and southern England, it is spreading rapidly: the British Deer Society has estimated that Muntjac may soon be the commonest deer species in England. Aided by humans, Muntjac have spread to Wales and the Scottish Borders, and there are also reports of it in Northern Ireland and in the Irish Republic.
A Muntjac buck can weigh between 10 kg and 18 kg, and measures between 44 cm and 52 cm at the shoulder. Females (does) weigh slightly less, but are of similar height.
Muntjac are browsers, eating a variety of foliage including herbs, brambles, ivy, heather, bilberry and even garden plants. They are known to damage trees by stripping the bark. Their lifespan can be up to 16 years.
In summer the Muntjac’s coat is russet brown, fading to greyish-brown in winter. It is distinguishable by its large haunches, giving it a hunched appearance, and its large facial glands below the eyes.
Antlers . . .
A Muntjac buck’s antlers are short, measuring only about 10 cm in length; they are unbranched, although a brow tine or point can occur in older bucks.
The antlers are shed in May or June, and re-grow by October or November. A Muntjac’s antlers are not used in combat during the rut – instead, they use their protruding tusk-like canines.