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Teensy Mouse Deer baby born at Zurich Zoo

Mouse deer 1

A Mouse Deer has given birth to an itty-bitty baby at the Zurich Zoo.  Less than 22 inches (55 centimeters) long as adults, Mouse Deer are one of the smallest hoofed animal species.  They are not really deer at all, but belong to their own unique family of hoofed mammals.

Mouse deer 3

Mouse deer 2

At first, the baby Mouse Deer hid beneath plants in its enclosure, but then began to follow its mother around the exhibit.  The baby’s sex is not yet known.

Mouse Deer have no horns or antlers, but males have long, dagger-like canine teeth that are used as weapons in conflicts with other males.  Adults weigh only about 5 pounds (2.5 kg) and have legs about the size of a pencil.  Amazingly, the tongue is 5 inches (2 cm) long – long enough for the Mouse Deer to wipe its eyes! 

Mouse Deer feed primarily on leaves, shoots, and fruit, and live alone or in pairs.  Their tiny size allows them to easily pass through the dense underbrush of the forest.  Mouse Deer are eaten by people and sometimes kept as pets in their native Southeast Asian range.

Photo Credit:  Zurich Zoo