1 minute read

Chevrotains: Tragulidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Because they are shy and come out only at night, chevrotains are difficult to study. They are easily frightened and jump at the first sign of danger. Chevrotains are loners and socialize only during mating and while rearing young. The exception to this is the lesser Malay mouse deer, which is monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus), has only one mate.

Chevrotains are territorial and mark their ranges using sounds and scent marks including feces, urine, and glandular secretions. Mouse deer bleat softly, like a lamb, when alarmed. Although they will fight, bouts are short and infrequent. Males fight with their tusk-like teeth.

Females are more active than males. All chevrotain sit on their hind legs or crouch with all legs folded to rest.

Little is known about the mating system of chevrotains. Gestation, pregnancy, lasts six to nine months and results in the birth of one offspring each year. Babies are nursed, fed with mother's milk, until the age of three to six months and can stand on their own within an hour after birth. Chevrotains are able to mate after nine to twenty-six months, and this is when the young leave home. These animals live to an age of eleven to thirteen years. Their primary predators are large birds of prey and reptiles.


Every culture has folklore, stories that have been passed down that provide explanations for events and natural phenomena. Most folklore includes a trickster, a creature who is able to trick other characters. Tricksters are usually animals that are small compared to the larger, heroic animals of folktales. But, they usually come out the wiser of the two.

A famous Southeast Asian folktale is about a mouse deer that outwits a fierce crocodile. The tale was put into print by Kathy and John Morris and I Nyoman Kartana in 1999 in the book Mouse Deer and Crocodile: An Asian Folktale.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsChevrotains: Tragulidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Lesser Malay Mouse Deer (tragulus Javanicus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CHEVROTAINS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS