What is the difference between a muntjac and a deer?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

The Chinese water deer and the reeves’ muntjac are both small deer species that share some similarities in size, shape, and color. However, there are several distinctive features that set them apart.

1. Facial Characteristics:
The Chinese water deer has a wider and rounder face compared to the reeves’ muntjac. This gives them a slightly different facial structure and appearance.

2. Antlers:
One of the most notable differences is the presence of antlers. Male reeves’ muntjacs have small, short antlers, whereas Chinese water deer lack antlers entirely. Instead, male Chinese water deer possess elongated canine teeth, often referred to as “vampire teeth” or tusks.

3. Fighting Behavior:
While both species engage in territorial fights, their fighting techniques differ. Male reeves’ muntjacs primarily use their antlers to compete for females and establish dominance. On the other hand, male Chinese water deer rely on their elongated canines to fight off rivals and secure mates.

4. Habitat Preferences:
Chinese water deer are typically found in wetland habitats, such as marshes, reed beds, and riversides. They are well adapted to living in these environments and are even known for their ability to swim. Reeves’ muntjacs, on the other hand, are more versatile in their habitat preferences and can be found in a variety of wooded areas.

5. Distribution:
Chinese water deer are native to China and Korea but have also been introduced to other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom. Reeves’ muntjacs, on the other hand, have a wider distribution across various parts of Asia, including China, Taiwan, Japan, and Indonesia.

While Chinese water deer and reeves’ muntjacs may share some physical similarities, there are distinct differences between the two species. These differences include facial structure, the presence of antlers or elongated canines, fighting behavior, habitat preferences, and distribution.