Muntjac deer

Muntjac deer

©Amy Lewis

Muntjac deer

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Scientific name: Muntiacus reevesi
The muntjac deer was introduced into the UK from China in the 20th century. It has gained a stronghold in southeast England, where it can cause damage to our woods through browsing.

Top facts


Length: 77-91cm
Shoulder height: 45-52cm
Weight: 10-17kg
Average lifespan: 10-13 years

Conservation status

Invasive, non-native species. Protected in the UK under the Deer Act 1991.

When to see

January to December


The small, Chinese muntjac deer was introduced to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire at the start of the 20th century and rapidly spread into the surrounding area. It is now a common animal across southeast England and can be found in woodland, parkland and even gardens. Muntjac deer are notorious browsers, eating the shoots from shrubs, as well as woodland herbs and brambles. This clearing of woodland understory has been linked to declines in species such as nightingales.

Male muntjacs have short, unbranched antlers that slope backwards, and a pair of long canine teeth. They breed all year-round, but females usually only have one kid at a time. Muntjac deer are also known as 'barking deer' because of their dog-like calls.

What to look for

A very small, stocky deer, the muntjac deer is about the same size as a medium dog. It is gingery-brown, with a pale underside, darker stripes in its face, and small, single-pointed antlers.

Where to find

Common and increasing in southern England, and spreading northwards.

Did you know?

At least seven species of muntjac are known, from Pakistan to Java and China. Two species were actually introduced into the UK, but the one that got cosy here is the Reeves' muntjac.