No, I’m not making fun of the 2008 Year of the Mouse (Rat or wha’ever) for our 2nd post of the year. I just thought that…uhm…well; I just wanted it to be our 2nd post. There! Get off me. Any ways…
If you ask me, the Mouse Deer is in the league of relatively giant Southeast Asian animals that embodies the people of our great region. My fascination to this clever animal was renewed on our recent visit to Palawan Island in the Philippines.
There are two kinds of ‘em in our region: the “Lesser”, found in Malaysia and Borneo; and the “Greater”, found in Palawan Islands and parts of Indonesia. The Lesser Mouse Deers of course, are the smallest. And they are in fact, the world’s smallest deer!
How small is small? A mature Mouse Deer is 18 inches tall and weighs 2kg! Aren’t they cute? They are no bigger than a rabbit with legs like a toothpick -- but extremely clever, gutsy and witty!
That’s why the Mouse Deer caught the admiration and respect of our ancestors; they are always the main character, the trickster or the protagonist of ancient fables and folklores! In Malay folklore, the Mouse Deer plays the role of the wily fox in the west.
They are called “Kancil” in Malaysia, “Pilandok” in the Philippines,“Napu” in Indonesia and “Chevrotain” in the west. Chevrotain actually means “little goat” in French. As if being a mouse and a deer is not confusing enough. Ha!
These cute little critters are herbivores; it means they are vegetarians *they eat tofu too?*. And they are more active at night roaming the forest floors to find fallen fruits as well *fruitarians as well?*. Cool!
As cute as they are – the Mouse Deer is NOT traded as pets. BUT illegal poachers raid them for bush meat! MEAT?!! Who eats it? Honestly. And of course, those dang illegal loggers clearing their habitat. *sigh* These are the main problems of our Mouse Deers.
If you own a blog, please do the right thing. Please feature our rare animal friends and create awareness.
Previously Featured SE Asian Rare Species:
Komodo Dragon, Butaan, Kouprey, Tarsier, Orangutan and Philippine Eagle.