Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Artiodactyla / Cervidae / Muntiacus / Species
Muntiacus reevesi - Chinese muntjac (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Reeve's muntjac
  • Barking deer
  • Muntjac
  • Muntjac de Chine (French)
  • Cerf aboyeur (French)
  • Chinesischer Muntjak (German)

Names for new-borns / juveniles

Names for males Buck
Names for females Doe

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General Appearance

Small brown deer with dark markings on face, white underside to tail - held vertically when alarmed (B142, V.w5 ).

Similar Species

  • Facial markings distinguish from other deer in Britain.
  • Slightly smaller and darker than Hydropotes inermis - Chinese water deer, which lacks facial markings or antlers and has larger ears.

(B142, V.w5 )

Sexual Dimorphism Male: small antlers, tusk-like canines up to 1 inch/2.5cm long just visible below lower lip (B142, B144)

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Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

Husbandry references:

(UK Contacts)

(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

  • --

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Deer (Cervidae)

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  • Deer (Cervidae)

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Husbandry Information


Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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Appearance / Morphology

Measurement & Weight

  • 3ft/90cm (B144)
  • Body length (nose to end of last vertebra): males 93-107cm mean 98cm, females 90-104cm mean 95cm (B142)
  • Shoulder height: 16.4in. / 41cm (B144); 50cm (D30)
  • Males 44-52cm mean 49cm, females 43-52cm mean 47cm (B142)
  • Buck: 45cm (B158.A8.w4)
Adult weight General 33-77 lbs. / 15-35kg (B144)
Male 10.5-18.3kg mean 14.8kg (B142); 13kg (B158.A8.w4)
Female 9-15.8kg mean 12.2kg (B142)
New-born weight
  • 19.6 oz./ 550-650g (B144)
  • 900-1500g, mean 1209g (B142)
  • 1kg (B158.A1.w3)
Growth rate --

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  • Short antlers in males.
  • Pedicles develop in males about 20-31 weeks old
  • Antler growth begins 32-46 weeks.
  • Initial antlers simple spike or know, no coronet.
  • Adult antlers have coronet and may have small brow tine. Usually curve back into hooked point.
  • Generally less than 10cm long
  • Velvet lost 46-76 weeks old.
  • Cast in May to June (51-112 weeks old)
  • Cycle in adults: grow for 79-130 (mean 106) days, in summer. Velvet shed August to October, cast end April to mid-July.

(B142, D30, B158.A8.w4)

In females, small bony knots and tufts of hair in position where antlers grow in males (B147)

Skull: greatest length males mean 167mm, females mean 162cm (B142)

Nose: black (D30)

Ears: mean 8cm (B142)

Dentition (Teeth)
  • Deciduous: I 0/3, C 1/1, P 3/3, M 0/0
  • Permanent: I 0/3, C 1/1, P 3/3, M 3/3
  • Full functional permanent dentition by 83-92 weeks old.
  • Tusks in males (upper canines), curved, slightly protruding

(B142, B147, D30, B158.A8.w4)

Eyes --

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Legs and Tracks

  • Cloven-footed. Outer claw slightly longer than inner claw (B142)

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  • Upper surface chestnut, underside white. Mean 12-13cm, or 16-17cm including hair (B142, D30); 13cm (B158.A8.w4)
  • Held upright when alarmed (B142, D30)

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Coat / Pelage

Adult Female Summer:
  • Dorsal rich red-brown. Rump plain.
  • Abdomen buff, inside of thighs variably white. 
  • Head: forehead marked with dark kite shape; chin variably white.


  • Dorsal: Duller grey-brown.
  • Forelegs: front surface black.
  • Head: sandy-ginger.

(B142, D30, B158.A8.w4)

Variations (If present)
  • Males: forehead has dark brown/black 'V' shaped of stripes, over frontal ridges and up pedicles. 
  • In winter: neck may be golden.

(B142, B158.A8.w4).

  • Spring moult April to May, starting on head.
  • Autumn moult September to October.


New-born / Juvenile
  • Brown heavily spotted with buff.
  • Spots fade; disappear by about eight weeks old.
  • Forehead has dark kite-shaped pattern like adult female.


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Neonate (New-born) Characteristics

  • Precocial. Spotted initially (B142).

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Detailed Anatomy Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

  • Reproductive: Two pairs of teats on udder. Bicornuate uterus; pregnancy usually in right horn (B142)
  • Scent glands: very large suborbital glands, just below eyes. Frontal glands for 'V' on forehead. Interdigital glands on hind feet (B142)

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Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Reproductive Stages

Breeding Season
  • All year in Britain. (B142)
  • Varies depending on geographical area. Mating December to January in Thailand but no season on Malay Peninsula or Sri Lanka (B147)
  • Aseasonal (B158.A1.w3)
Oestrus / Ovulation
  • Polyoestrous, cycle 14-21 days, oestrus about two days (B147). Post-partum oestrus (B142).
  • Aseasonal (B158.A1.w3)
Gestation / Pregnancy
  • About 120 days (B142, B144)
  • 209-220 days; 210 days in Thailand (B147)
  • 210 days (B158.A1.w3)
Parturition / Birth
  • Birth peak March to August in Britain (B147); mostly April to September (B158.A1.w3)
Neonatal development Precocial. Spotted initially (B142).
Litter size
  • One.
  • Rarely twin fetuses.

(B142, B144, B158.A1.w3)

Time between Litters / Litters per year
  • Minimum inter-birth interval 211 days (B142).
Lactation / Milk Production
  • 2 months (B144)
  • Up to 17 weeks (captive observation) (B142)
Sexual Maturity
  • 6-12 months (B144).
  • Females minimum 5-6 months, more usually 7 months or older, in captivity (B142)
  • 7-11 months (B158.A1.w3)
Longevity Males 16 years and females more than 19 years in captivity (B142)

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Natural Diet

  • Variety of broad-leaf browse (leaves, tender shoots (particularly e.g. bramble), also grass, ferns, fungi, fruit, nuts.
  • Grass significant part of diet in spring.

(B142, B147)

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Detailed Physiology Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

Temperature --
Pulse --
Respiration --
Faeces --
Haematology / Biochemistry --
Chromosomes 2n = 46 (B142)
Other Antlers cast May/June, antlers cleaned September/October (B158.A1.w3).

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Feeding Behaviour

  • Mainly browsers, also graze (B142).

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Parental Behaviour

  • Both parents groom fawn (B142).

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Social Behaviour / Territoriality

  • Basically solitary
  • May see pair, or pair plus female's offspring.
  • Occasionally larger congregations at favoured feeding site, but without group cohesion.
  • Sometimes male and female may associate with one another over periods of several years.
  • Home ranges about 14 hectares in varied deciduous woodland.
  • Coniferous areas, male ranges generally larger than female ranges.
  • Female ranges overlap one another, although core areas separate.
  • Male ranges exclusive of one another but overlap several female ranges.
  • Communication by scent marking important.
  • Antler-to-antler sparring mainly between unequally-matched males.
  • More serious fighting involving head-on clashes and tusks in equally-matched males.
  • Mutual grooming seen between same and opposite sex animals, and different age classes.
  • Aggressive interactions and development of dominance hierarchy in captivity

(B142, B144, B147)

Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Male pursues doe: chasing, sniffing, licking vulval area and urine, flehmen, repeated mounting (B142)

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Predation in Wild

  • Leopard, tiger, dhole, jackal, crocodile, python (B144).
  • Dogs and possibly foxes in UK (B142)

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Activity Patterns

  • Rushing about seen in fawns of few weeks old, especially at dusk.
  • "Bucking bronco" sessions sometimes seen in males.


  • May be active any time of day or night.
  • Feeding periods mainly early morning, midday, and dusk.
  • Lie up or stand in cover to ruminate after feeding.


Mainly crepuscular (B147)

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Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

  • Dense forest and scrub; areas with variety of vegetation preferred.
  • Broadleafed and coniferous forest, coppice, scrub and overgrown gardens all utilised.

(B142, B143, B144, D30)

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Nests / Burrows / Shelters


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Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal South-eastern China and Taiwan; 200-400m (B51, B142, B143, B147))
Occasional and Accidental --
  • Britain: southern and central England north into Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire (B51, B142, B143, B147, D30).

  • France (B51; introduction failed (B143).

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Intraspecific variation

  • Muntiacus reevesi reevesi (mainland China, introduced to Britain)
  • Muntiacus reevesi micrurus (Taiwan) - slightly smaller.

(B142, B143)

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
  • Common.

  • Density and increasing size of populations may impact on Capreolus capreolus - Western roe deer and Hydropotes inermis - Chinese water deer in Britain (B143).

  • In China population estimated 650,000 (B147)

  • In Britain: introduced, populations locally common and increasing. Pre-breeding population estimate of about 40,000, with about 40,000 in England, less than 50 in Scotland, less than 250 in Wales; juveniles and subadults may increase population by about 30% at any time of year as breeding is not seasonal. Population estimate of this widely-distributed species was based on a limited amount of data and considered likely to be inaccurate by up to 50% in either direction (B221).

General Legislation
CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
  • Predation of fawns under two months old.
  • Culling
  • Road traffic accidents
  • (B221).
Captive Populations  

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