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Chevrotain, Larger Malay

Larger Malay Chevrotain at the LA Zoo Photo Credit Tad Motoyama

Scientific Name: Tragulus napu

Larger Malay chevrotains are shy, secretive, solitary and extremely territorial little animals. They mark their small territories with urine, feces and glandular secretions produced by glands located in their lower jaw.

Hard to Classify

There are several species of chevrotains, including the larger Malay chevrotain, and all are commonly referred to as mouse-deer. This is a misleading nickname, however, since chevrotains belong to the family Tragulidae, while true deer belong to the family Cervidae and have antlers. The name chevrotain actually comes from the French word chevre, meaning goat. This is also misleading, since goats belong to the family Bovidae and have horns. Thus, chevrotains are truly in a class of their own!

Larger Malay chevrotains are listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but their numbers are declining due to habitat destruction and hunting by native peoples.

Larger Malay chevrotains inhabit tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia.

Their diet consists of fruits, leaves, buds, grasses, and other soft browse.

The larger Malay chevrotain is one of the smallest ruminating animals. They stand no taller than twelve to fourteen inches at the shoulder and weigh between nine and thirteen pounds. Chevrotains have stocky bodies, strongly arched backs and short, thin legs. They have limited agility. Male chevrotains are generally smaller than females. Their fur is orangey-brown in color. The upper canines of the males protrude from the mouth, making it appear as if they have small tusks. They do not have horns or antlers. They have a four-chambered ruminating stomach, but the third chamber is reduced in size and not fully functioning.

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