MUSK DEER

This is the smallest hornless deer of Russian fauna. The animal has a brown color; males and females are almost indistinguishable in nature. Male species older than 3-4 years have big tushes showing from under the upper lip. The weight of she-deer is 15-17 kilos, the males weigh a little bit more. The hind feet are strong and long resulting in the musk deer jumping like a hare by pushing its hind feet forward and walking by small steps with their back raised and head kept down. The jumps are 4-5 long. The animal makes sounds – a weak woofing.

The musk deer is active at nights and during twilight. The habitat is very limited – frequently only 50-100 hectares. The nutrition is herbal one with the wood moss playing particularly important role in winter.

The musk deer is a very common animal in Siberia but it can be found sporadically because it dwells only in mountain, mainly dark coniferous, taiga with rocks, cliffs, windbreak and places with little snow. The mandatory condition is abundance of wood moss – the musk deer’s basic food.

The animal is not so frequently seen in southern and central landscapes of the Central Siberian Plateau but nevertheless it is quite numerous in places and is quite common in all the taiga area. Individual species travel to open forests (the southern part of Putorana Mountains, Khantay kettle hole, the Yessei island area).

The breeding time is in November. In June, the female gives birth to 1-2 fawns 300-500 grams each. The young fawns are helpless and hide in the grass for about two months not capable even to follow their mother. They are easy prey for many predators including crows. The reproductive age is reached at 15-17 months.