Sunday, April 17, 2011

Info: Mousedeer

Mouse Deer are also known as Chevrotain. The Lesser Mouse Deer is the she smallest of all ungulates at a mature size as little as around 45 cm (18 inches) and 2 kg (4.4 lb). The Greater Mouse Deer has the following characteristics:

Body Length: 70-75 cm / 2.3-2.5 ft.
Shoulder Height: 30-35 cm / 12-14 cm.
Tail Length: 8-10 cm / 3.2-4 in.
Weight: 5-8 kg / 11-17.6 lb.

Mouse Deer don't have any horns or antlers, but both male and female possess enlarged upper canines. The male's are prominent and sharp, projecting either side of the lower jaw. They have short, slender legs like tooth-picks, which leave them lacking in agility, but also help to maintain a smaller profile (they need this when running through the dense foliage of their environment).

The female larger Malay mouse deer has the potential to be pregnant throughout her adult life, often having just a 1.5-3 hours break between giving birth and becoming pregnant again! The young are born fully developed, precocious, and can stand within a half an hour after being born. Mothers nurse their young standing on three legs.

Larger Malay mouse deer are nocturnal (only active by night), and hence rarely visible to human eyes. Using tiny, tunnel-like trails through thick brush when traveling, they rest and move at specific intervals several times a day. Extremely territorial by nature, both sexes of larger Malay mouse deer regularly mark their territories with urine, feces, and secretions from an inter-mandibular gland under the chin.

They can be tamed and domesticated easily, however, they are very delicate creatures. When they sense danger, larger Malay mouse deer drum on the ground with their rear hoofs at a frequency of 4 times / per second.

Family group: Solitary.
Diet: Buds, leaves, fruit, and probably small amounts of animal food.
Main Predators: Predators, birds of prey, large reptiles.

The Histoty of Melaka and Mousedeer:

Once upon a time, Parameswara was out hunting at a place called Bertam. While resting under a tree, one of his dogs cornered a white mousedeer or kancil in Malay. In retaliation, the mousedeer kicked the dogs until it fell into the Bertam River. Parameswara was so impressed by the mousedeer’s courage.

Parameswara was shocked with this incident because the size of the mousedeer was very small but it was so brave and strong. Furthermore the color of the mousedeer was white which is very rare. 

Many people believe that is the reason Parameswara believed what he saw as a good omen. When Parameswara decided to build his empire on that sacred land, he will need to name the place. The question will be what is the connection with the mousedeer or kancil story with the name of Melaka actually?

Parameswara named his empire after the tree he was sitting under. (While watching the brave mousedeer defeating his hunting dogs)

Parameswara was also the first Malay prince who was converted to Islam. Later, he took on the name of Sultan Iskandar Syah. It was Sultan Iskandar Syah who laid the foundation for Melaka to become a thriving entreport.

Therefore, the mousedeer story definitely holds some truth especially the part on the good omen.