|Scientific Name||Moschus chrysogaster (Hodgson, 1839)|
The rutting-season is in January, the period of gestation about 160 days, and a single young one was born in June. Two are sometimes, but not usually, produced; the young procreate before they are a year old.
Height of male at shoulder about 20 inches, at croup about 22 ; length, nose to rump, 36; tail without hair 1.5 to 2 ; ear 4 : weight of a female about 20 lbs. A male skull measures 5-15 in basal length, 2.7 in breadth across the orbits.
Hair of peculiar texture—long, coarse, brittle, minutely wavy, and composed of a substance resembling pith. Iambs long, the hinder considerably the longer. Hoofs narrow, pointed ; lateral hoofs greatly developed. Ears large. Tail very small, glandular, and marked with a terminal tuft in males, hairy in females. The canines in the male are frequently 2 to 3 inches in length. Colour rich dark brown, more or less speckled and mottled with grey, the hairs having a subterminal white ring and blackish tips. The basal three-fourths or more of the hair on the body is white. Lower parts and inside of limbs paler ; chin, inner borders of ears, and inside of thighs whitish ; a white spot in some (the young ?) on each side of the throat. Some individuals are paler, others yellowish in tint.
The musk-deer is a solitary animal, more than two being seldom if ever seen together. It frequents wooded slopes, often very steep, and, as Kinloch says, resembles a hare in its habits, making a "form " in which it remains throughout the day, and moving about to feed in the mornings and evenings. It is very active and surefooted, its large lateral hoofs apparently giving it the means of holding on to slippery and precipitous rocks, and it progresses by a series of bounds, sometimes of great extent. It is by no means shy where it has not been much hunted.
The food of the musk-deer is, by Adams, said to consist of grass and lichens, by Kinloch of leaves and flowers. This animal's fur is admirably adapted as a defeuce against cold. According to Adams, no cry has been observed, even in the rutting-season ; the only sound this animal has been known to make is a series of harsh screams that it utters when captured. The Musk-deer is exclusively a forest animal, keeps much to the same ground, and makes a sort of form, like the hare, to lie on in the sun. It usually runs in bounds on all fours, and often makes most astonishing bounds, occasionally 60 feet on a gentle slope for several successive leaps, jumping over considerable bushes at each bound. It is wonderfully sure-footed, and over rocky and precipitous ground perhaps has no equal.
The musk, the contents of the abdominal gland, is only developed at the rutting-season, and is a brown soft mass with a peculiar well-known odour. An ounce is about the average produce of one animal. Many musk-deer are snared in nooses, others shot to secure the "musk-pod," which is an article of commerce. The flesh of the animal is excellent, and free from any musky flavour. The musk is milky for the first year or two, afterwards granular : the dung of the males smells of musk, but the body does not, and females do not in the slightest degree. The flesh is dark red and not musky, and the young is considered to be the best venison in India.
Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2d ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008