The Lesser Mouse-Deer, also commonly referred to as the Kanchil, is the smallest hoofed mammal in the world, weighing in at just under 4.5 pounds, and standing 12 inches at the shoulders. Found throughout tropical forests in southeast Asia, the Lesser Mouse Deer is a shy and elusive animal, and little is known of its behavior.
The Lesser Mouse Deer is a ruminant, meaning that they have multiple stomachs and regurgitate their food, chew it, and then swallow it again as part of the digestive process. Other ruminants include cattle and the Whitetail Deer with which most of us are familiar. However, unlike most ruminants, which have four stomachs, the Lesser Mouse Deer only has three stomachs. This primitive trait, among others, has led scientists to believe that the Lesser Mouse Deer and their cousins are an evolutionary link between ruminants and non-ruminant species.
Neither the males nor the females grow antlers, though the males develop sharp, elongated canines that protrude from the mouth. These teeth are used in disputes over territory or mates.
The Lesser Mouse Deer is primarily an early morning and late evening forager that has also been observed to be active during the day. These animals are herbivores, eating plant materials, although Lesser Mouse Deer in captivity have been known to eat insects. The Lesser Mouse Deer typically travel in small family groups. These delicate animals balance on extremely slender legs, which end in a split hoof. When fearful or agitated, the Lesser Mouse Deer will rapidly beat their hooves on the ground, producing a drumming sound that alerts others to danger. The typically wary, observant nature of the Lesser Mouse Deer can be observed in this video.