Reeves's muntjac

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Reeves's muntjac
Chinesischer Muntjak Muntiacus reevesi Zoo Augsburg-04.jpg
At Augsburg de Laza
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Genus: Muntiacus
M. reevesi
Binomial name
Muntiacus reevesi
(Ogilby, 1839)

Reeves's muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi), also known as the Chinese muntjac, [2] is a species of muntjac found widely in south-eastern China (from Gansu to Yunnan) and Taiwan. [3] It has also been introduced in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Japan. It takes its name from John Reeves, [4] a naturalist employed by the British East India Company in the 19th century.



Reeves's muntjac grows to 0.5 m (1 ft 8 in) high at the shoulder [5] and 0.95 m (3 ft 1 in) in length, plus a short tail up to 4 in (10 cm) long. It weighs between 10 and 18 kg (22 and 40 lb) when fully grown. It is reddish-brown in appearance with striped markings on its face. [5] The belly is creamy-white, with lighter fur extending to the neck, chin, and the underside of the tail. The males have short antlers, [5] usually 4 in (10 cm) or less, and long upper canines (tusks), usually about 2 in (5.1 cm) long. Females have bony lumps on their foreheads and localized black spots. The Taiwanese subspecies (M. r. micrurus), commonly known as the Formosan Reeves's muntjac, is darker than other subspecies.


Reeves's muntjac feeds on herbs, blossoms, succulent shoots, fungi, berries, grasses, and nuts, and has also been reported to eat tree bark. Eggs and carrion are eaten opportunistically. [6] It is also called the barking deer due to its distinctive barking sound, [7] though this name is also used for other species of muntjacs. The barking sound is common during mating or when provoked. Its preferred habitats are forest and shrubland. It is a solitary and crepuscular animal. Both males and females defend small territories that they mark with preorbital gland secretions that are thought to be pheromonal in nature. [8] When fighting, males first use their antlers to push enemies off balance so they can wound them with their 2 in (5.1 cm) upper canine teeth.

On Hachijō-jima


Female, Prague Zoo
Muntiacus reevesi Zoo Praha 2011-7.jpg

Female muntjacs (known as "does" [7] ) become sexually mature within the first year of life. [9] Mating occurs throughout the year. Their gestation period lasts from 209 to 220 days. [10] Females limit the number of mating bouts, though time between successive bouts is determined by males [11] (known as "bucks" [7] ).


It is widely found in south-eastern China (from Gansu to Yunnan) and Taiwan. [3] It has also been introduced in several other regions.

Continental Europe

It has been introduced in Belgium and seen in the Netherlands. [12]

In Europe, this species is included since 2016 in the list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern (the Union list). [13] This implies that this species cannot be imported, bred, transported, commercialized, or intentionally released into the environment in the whole of the European Union. [14]

Great Britain

Reeves's muntjacs were first introduced to the UK in the early 19th century. [15]

In the late 19th century, the then Duke of Bedford brought some to Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, then in 1901 released them into the surrounding woods. [15] :96 A few more probably escaped from the nearby Whipsnade Zoo. During the mid-20th century, Woburn conducted several deliberate releases in distant locations throughout England. [15] :97 It is suspected that there were also other unrecorded releases or escapes from private collections. These releases later caused misperception that muntjacs spread very rapidly. [15] :98 The estimated population of Reeves's muntjacs in England was 52,000 in 1995, [2] and 104,000 in 2008. [15] :100

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it was illegal to release the species except where already established, and the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 has subsequently prohibited the capture and re-release of muntjac in all cases. [16] As of 2017, colonies exist throughout England south of the Humber, and the population continues to grow. [17]


It has been introduced in the Republic of Ireland. [18]

Sightings in 2008 caused the government, concerned at the risk of the species becoming established, to quickly introduce a year-round hunting season. [19]

Japanese archipelago

Sometime before the 1980s, several specimens escaped from an exhibition zoo in Chiba Prefecture in eastern Japan. [20] By 2023, their numbers had grown to 71,500. [20] It is considered a harmful invasive species. [21] Also, Reeves's muntjac escaped a zoo on Izu Ōshima in 1970 when a fence fell due to a typhoon. They have inflicted severe damage to the local ashitaba plantations. [22] A muntjac eradication effort on Izu Ōshima was undertaken in 20072014 but failed, and as of 2014, at least 11,000 individuals exist and have a yearly population growth rate of 15%. This failure has been blamed on inadequate survey methods. [22]


In Hong Kong, Reeve's muntjac is a protected species under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance Cap 170. It is listed as least concern by the IUCN due to being generally common and widespread. [1]

Economic significance

The tanned skin of Reeves's muntjac is notable for its softness and is occasionally used in beauty-care products, musical instruments, lenses, and antique items packaging. Low-fat muntjac meat is also noted for its culinary qualities. [23]

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  1. 1 2 Timmins, J.; Chan, B. (2016). "Muntiacus reevesi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2016: e.T42191A170905827. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T42191A170905827.en . Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. 1 2 Harris, Stephen; Morris, Pat; Wray, Stephanie; Yalden, Derek (1995). "Chinese muntjac Muntiacus reevesi". A review of British mammals:population estimates and conservation status of British mammals other than cetaceans (Report). Joint Nature Conservation Committee (UK). pp. 101–102. ISBN   1-873701-68-3. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2022-08-28.
    • p101: in England around 40,000, in Scotland fewer than 50, in Wales fewer than 250.
    • p102: additional fawn and immature individuals 30% (12,000)
  3. 1 2 Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN   978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC   62265494.
  4. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. Vol. 6. 1838. p. 105. Cervus Reevesi
  5. 1 2 3 "Muntjac, Muntiacus reevesi". GB Non-native species secretariat. DEFRA.
  6. "Reeve's muntjac videos, photos and facts – Muntiacus reevesi". Arkive. Archived from the original on 2017-10-27. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
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  8. Rehorek, Susan J.; Hillenius, Willem J.; Kennaugh, John; Chapman, Norma (2005). "The gland and the sac — the preorbital apparatus of muntjacs". Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 10. pp. 152–158. doi:10.1007/0-387-25160-X_19. ISBN   978-0-387-25159-2.
  9. Chapman, Norma G., M. Furlong, and S. Harris. "Reproductive strategies and the influence of date of birth on growth and sexual development of an aseasonally‐breeding ungulate: Reeves' muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi)". Journal of Zoology 241.3 (1997): 551–570.
  10. Whitehead, Kenneth (1993). The Whitehead Encyclopedia of Deer. Stillwater, MN: Voyager Press. p. 597.
  11. Yahner, Richard (August 1979). "Temporal Patterns in Male Mating Behavior of Captive Reeve's Muntjac (muntiacus Reevesi)". Journal of Mammalogy. 3. 60 (3): 560–567. doi:10.2307/1380097. JSTOR   1380097.
  12. Hollander, Hans. "Reeves' muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) and sika deer (Cervus nippon) in the Netherlands" (PDF). Dutch Mammal Society. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  13. "List of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern - Environment - European Commission". Retrieved 2021-07-27.
  14. "REGULATION (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European parliament and of the council of 22 October 2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species".
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 Lever, Christopher (2009). "Reeves's muntjac". The naturalized animals of Britain and Ireland . London: New Holland Publishers (UK). pp. 95–100. ISBN   9781847734549.
    • cited sources: History and distribution: Chapman 1994, 1995; Population: Harris et al. 1995, Chapman 2008
  16. "Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019".
  17. "Muntjac Deer". The British Deer Society. Archived from the original on 2022-03-21. Retrieved 2022-08-28.
  18. Sleeman, D. P. and Carlsson, J. Introduction in Sleeman, D. P., Carlsson, J. and Carlsson, J. E. L. (eds) 2014. "Mind the Gap 11.: new insights into the Irish postglacial". Ir Nat J. ISBN   978-0-9569704-8-0
  19. Under Statutory Instrument 346 of 2008
  20. 1 2 千葉県で大量繁殖 茨城県神栖市や筑西市などで動物「キョン」確認相次ぐ“目撃情報に報奨金制度 新設へ” [The animal "Kyon", prolific in Chiba, sighted at Ibaragi. Prefecture government introduces incentive for sighting reports]. NHK (in Japanese). 2024-05-10. Archived from the original on 2024-05-17. Retrieved 2024-05-17.
    • 令和4年度=Fiscal year Reiwa 4. Reiwa 4 = AD 2022, and fiscal years end next March, therefore the end of fiscal year Reiwa 4 is March 2023.
  21. "Reeves's (or Chinese) Muntjac / Invasive Species of Japan". National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  22. 1 2 東京新聞:社会:大島のキョンが猛繁殖 島民より多い1万1000頭 アシタバ被害. TOKYO Web (Tokyo Shimbun) (in Japanese). 2015-09-13. Archived from the original on 27 September 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  23. Charles Smith, Muntjac: Managing an Alien Species ISBN   978-1904784029