Reeve's muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi)
|Size||Weight of females: 9 to 16 kg (2)|
Weight of males: 10 to 18 kg (2)
Height at shoulder (male): 44-52 cm (2)
Height at shoulder (female): 43-52 cm (2)
Reeve's muntjac is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (8). Introduced to the UK (3). Under Schedule 9, Section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to release into or grow this species in the wild (4). Listed under Appendix III of the Berne Convention (7).
The small, stocky (2) introduced Reeve's muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) has a shiny reddish coat which turns brownish-grey in winter, and the chin, throat, the area between the hind legs and underside of the long tail are paler (4). Both sexes have a rounded back, and large scent glands below the eye used for scent marking (6). Females are slightly smaller than males; other differences include males possessing antlers, which grow to 7cm in length, and obvious canine teeth that grow up to 3cm long (4). Furthermore, males have a dark 'V' pattern on the forehead (4), whereas females have a diamond shape (5). For the first 8 or so weeks of life, fawns have a light coloured coat with lines of spots around a dark stripe passing along the back (6).
Reeve's muntjac is native to China and Taiwan, and was introduced to the UK in 1894 to Woburn Park (3). Following escapes and deliberate movements, including a release from Whipsnade in 1921 (6), this species now has a wide distribution, which is concentrated in central England (3). There are also a few records from north Wales and northern England (3). Numbers are increasing rapidly at present (3).
This secretive deer (5) inhabits dense scrub and woodland as well as quiet gardens (3). It is fairly versatile with regards to habitat, and this has helped it to colonise diverse areas, including Salisbury Plain, which consists of open grassland and scrub (6).
Reeve's muntjac is active throughout the day and night, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk (2). They feed on bramble, ferns, ivy, grasses and tree shoots, and unfortunately have a penchant for plants with a high conservation status such as bluebells and primulas (2), causing serious conflict in conservation areas (2).
This deer is a solitary species; although individuals may occur in the same area (6). Unlike many deer species, Reeve's muntjac does not have a fixed breeding season, but reproduces throughout the year; correspondingly bucks are always territorial (6). They defend their territory by scent marking, depositing heaps of dung and aggressively repelling intruders using their canine teeth and/ or antlers (6). Females produce a single fawn at intervals of about 7 months (3), at 7 months of age, the fawns reach sexual maturity; females tend to remain close to their mothers' range, but males disperse further afield (3).
This deer often barks for a number of reasons, which has earned the species the alternative common name of 'barking deer' (5). Both the Latin and common name refer to John Reeves, Assistant Inspector of Tea for the East India Company in 1812 (6).
Road deaths are common (3), and predation of fawns by foxes is a serious cause of mortality (3). Due to the problems this species causes, particularly in highly sensitive conservation areas, this species is controlled by shooting (3), although due to the year-round reproduction there is no close-season in which shooting is restricted (3).
No conservation action.
For more on this species see The Ecology of the Reeves muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi). Deer UK.
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- Colony: a group of organisms living together, individuals in the group are not physiologically connected and may not be related, such as a colony of birds. Another meaning refers to organisms, such as bryozoans, which are composed of numerous genetically identical modules (also referred to as zooids or 'individuals'), which are produced by budding and remain physiologically connected.
Animal diversity web (August 2002)
British Deer Society Fact Sheet (August 2002)
Macdonald, D.W. and Tattersall, F.T. (2001) Britain's mammals- the challenge for conservation. The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Oxford University.
The Invasive Alien Species project. Fact Sheet: Muntiacus reevesi (August 2002):
- The Environment Agency. (1998) Species and Habitats Handbook: Look-up chart of species and their legal status. The Environment Agency, Bristol.
The Ecology of the Reeve's muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi). Deer UK (8/7/02):
British Deer Society. Species information (August 2002):
IUCN Red List (February, 2011)