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Species Spied: Muntjac


Species: Muntjac (Reeves')

Muntjac deer on camera trapScientific Name: Muntiacus reevesi

Family: Cervidae (deer)

Often known as the muntjac deer, muntjac actually refers to a family of deer — the species present in the UK is the Reeve’s Muntjac.

Their native range is actually in East Asia but they were introduced to the UK as an ornamental species. The muntjacs you see roaming wild in the UK are due to deliberate releases or escapes.

Despite being a non-native species, they are not thought to cause a large amount of damage to crops and timber.

Click on the tabs above to find out more and see NatureSpy's photos and videos of this species.

Posts with muntjac deer...

Identification & behaviour

How to identify

The best way to distinguish between deer species is by their rump and tails. Muntjacs have a distinct patch of white fur which covers their underside and tail. The white is visible when they raise their tail  but otherwise they appear to have a brown rump, unlike the roe deer.

Muntjacs are very small - weighing between 10 & 18kg, and standing about 50cm at the shoulder.

Males have small spike-like antlers which they use to defend their territory but they also have tusks (upper canine teeth) that protrude just below the lip.

Behaviours you may see

Muntjacs may reproduce at any time of year and females will usually give beth to a single fawn.

You may also hear muntjacs as they produce a sharp noise when startled, which has lead to them being known as the ‘barking deer’.

Camera trap tips

Where to find muntjacs

Muntjacs are usually herbivorous and feed more on trees and shrubs (browsing) than on grasses (grazing). As a result you will usually see them in scrub and woodland.

Living in scrub or woodland means they are usually seen singularly or in pairs. If they moved in large groups they would cause a lot more noise in the dense undergrowth and attract predators. Most of our captures have been of two muntjacs — watch it here.

Muntjacs are found throughout England but particularly in South England and parts of Wales.

Settings & timers

Muntjacs are most active at dawn and dusk (crepuscular) but may also be seen during the day or night, so cameras should be on at all times to increase chances of capture.

Following trails...

Deer trails can be easy to spot and are a good indication of their presence.

Muntjac's scat (droppings) and spoor (tracks) are the smallest of all deer species (spoor: 2cm wide, 4cm long).

Keep in mind they are not as tall as some people think! For the species in the UK, camera traps can be placed between 30-60cm off the ground.


Muntjac camera trap videos

References and more information:

Muntjac deer – The Mammal Society