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Pet Information: Muntjac Deer Info
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"I have some advice (from personal experience) for those of you interested in owning a muntjac. First of all, the reason that information about muntjacs varies so much is because there are many distinct subspecies (Reeves, Leaf, Reco, Asian, Indian, etc). These all vary greatly, which is why they are not classified as the same species of muntjac. After researching this interesting animal, I have found some descriptions that proved to be different from my experience with a young female muntjac. For example, I have heard that their tails are always raised. The only time my muntjac's tail was raised was when she was running at top speed or going to the bathroom. She never smelled like a newborn. Ever. She didn't require sand to defecate firmly. She timidly ventured out of her cage in less than an hour (not 24 hours) after I brought her home. Contrary to popular belief, she was NOT easy to litter box train; actually, she never became 'potty' trained. She would go (both #1 and #2) when she was scared, excited, nervous, or simply had to go to the bathroom. Each morning, when she was released from her kennel, she would run straight for the couch and jump up onto it. She would then URINATE on the furniture. She went to the bathroom in her kennel, on my bed, in the garage, on the grass outside, and in every room of the house- every place except her litter box. I cut down the entrance to her (uncovered) box so she didn't have to step over the little walls. I also lined it with old shirts of mine so it was more familiar to her. She liked to eat the kitty litter, therefore she needed 24/7 surveillance. Unlike a dog or cat, she did not like being held for long periods of time (more than one minute); although she loved to be scratched by the ears and neck. Below you will find more information about my female leaf muntjac: She weighed in at a whopping three pounds when she was born. When I first brought her to my home, she was one month old. I bottle fed her powdered goat milk mixed with warm water. She immediately peed on me while drinking. I cannot stress enough how much she loved her bottle (tip: when not feeding, keep it hidden). She would go nuts and make little anxious noises as soon as she saw me prepping one for her. She would also continue to suck air out of it long after it was empty. As long as she was drinking from a bottle, she was completely relaxed, like putty. I was able to put a collar around her neck without so much as a blink, which she would otherwise violently refuse with very sharp hooves (which left scratches up and down my arms) and incredibly loud, swine-like screams. She also had fangs (large canine teeth) in her upper row of teeth, but never tried to bite a person or other animal. I weaned her off the bottle by giving her the required 4 bottles/day until she was two months old. After that, I only gave her three bottles/day for one week, then two bottles/day for one week, and finally one bottle/day for one week. I fed her carrots, bread, watermelon, green peppers, sweet feed (marketed for horses), lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, and a salt lick. When she was outside she would attack tall grass, but watermelon was her favorite (next to the bottle). Did I mention the smell of her urine was almost unbearable? I have always been able to tolerate the smell of urinating horses, but this was almost painfully smelly, as if it was piercing my nostrils, and pulling tears from my eyes, many times per day. Luckily, this was only for the first two months. After she stopped drinking goat milk, her urine was odorless. When she was preparing to go to the bathroom, large scent glands near her eyes would open up (this extremely disturbed most people), she would take on a very stiff stance, and her tail would lift up. That was the signal to get her to the litter box- fast! If you have a job or a life, you will NOT be able to litter train your muntjac. Face it; they are not cats. They aren't dogs, either. I did train her to walk on a leash successfully (after many, many practice sessions), but she never grasped the fact that the leash had a limit. She would get a spurt of energy and want to try out her speedy legs. She would have choked herself many times if I hadn't kept her in a soft, padded body harness rather than a collar. The most frustrating part of getting to know her was the fact that she was incapable of grasping certain ideas, such as litter training, the difference between an open and closed glass door, and the length of her leash. Although she tested my patience, I cannot blame her. Muntjacs have not been bred for intelligence the way dogs and horses have been. She was extremely timid, yet very curious of her surroundings. This made for a very interesting combination of traits. Watching her interact with new objects was fully entertaining. She always started out terrified of new things, but was so incredibly curious, that she would almost always overcome her fears and go sniff out the item. She would chew on garbage bags, table and chair legs, electrical cords, magazines, blankets, shoe laces (I once pulled six inches of string out of her mouth/throat), my hair (on or off my head), dust bunnies, and any food that that happened to be on the floor. Even though I would watch her closely, she was very quick to act and once devoured a pepperoni, which made me question her 'herbivore-ness'. I never let her food or water dishes go empty. I think she just bored easily and enjoyed chewing on everything in sight. When in the car, she was frightened out of her wits, so be sure to cover the cage with a blanket when transporting to and from the vehicle, as well as during the entire trip. I put her outside in a fenced-in area (six-foot tall fencing) and kept a covered kennel in the corner. She loved it at first, running laps around and around, as if she just realized she had legs (note: muntjacs are incredibly fast, if one were to get loose, you would never be able to catch it). I think she was showing off because she would stop right in front of me each lap to make sure I was still there. When she would tire out, she liked to sleep near rhythmic noises like the pools filter and fans, whether it was during the day or night. Eventually, she didn't like being outside. She hated the rain, flies, and being alone. I didn't want her to be lonely, so I put up a baby gate in the house to keep her away from the couch she so longed to go potty on. Soon after she was back in the house, I found her on the other side of the fence, chewing on a cord behind the television. Apparently, leaf muntjacs, even young ones, are incredibly athletic. I have seen her jump effortlessly over a four-foot-tall wall (blockade) from a standstill. Although I admired her vertical and speed, she was not very graceful. She ran into the glass door numerous times, fell off the couch more than once, struggled with steps, usually tripping and rolling when going down, and she didn't mesh well with wooden floors (picture the first time Bambi walked on ice in the Disney film). I laid rugs throughout the kitchen and dining room, which she would jump to, as if they were little islands of safety. She was very resilient and never showed any signs of inflammation or pain. She enjoyed hiding under or around furniture for hours at a time to take long naps in 'safe' places. A popular hiding place was under my desk near the humming desktop computer. The game of 'hide and seek' was one of her favorites. She would run up to me and antagonize me to run, too. I would run away from her and hide in another room. She would cautiously wait a minute, then run in and find my hiding place, stare up at me for a second, and then run away to a different spot and stand patiently until I found her. Then I would sneak away and freeze in another corner of the house until she found me (usually very quickly). We would go back and forth for many rounds. It was an incredibly fun pastime and bonding experience. Her coat was spotted and very soft at first, but then it grew to be coarse and her cute little Bambi-like spots faded away into a darker brown coat. When I sold her at five months old, she was the same size as the full-grown Yorkie dog she played with (each of them smaller than a cat). I also introduced her to a friend golden retriever and a medium-sized black dog. Initially, she freaked-out (stuck-pig squealing). After that, she realized they were harmless and just wanted a sniff. After a while, she would stand by the door and wait anxiously to hang out with them again. I was still very cautious and never left her alone with them, just in case they played too rough. I would sit outside and read while she was on her long leash. She would literally frolic when outdoors. She would get a running start, jump in the air, and flip up her hind legs. I have never seen such transparent happiness in an animal before. I never got to hear her bark like their alternative name, barking deer, suggests. This was probably due to her young age. I found my female leaf muntjac to be very high-maintenance. A calculator will be necessary to add the initial cost of the animal and all additional costs of food, shelter, accessories, babysitters, veterinary fees, etc. They also require hours of attention each day. She would follow me around into every room, not leaving my side unless she found something to chew or pee on. Much time was spent preparing food, feeding, cleaning up after accidents (she would go to the bathroom up to 8 times per day), training, and best of all: playing. I also spent a large chunk of time desensitizing her to various things such as cars, dogs, cats, other people, children, being kenneled at night, using a litter box (unproductively), the vacuum, a collar and leash, etc. This was not easy, especially leash training. Before looking into purchasing a muntjac, please call your local DNR (Department of Natural Resources) office and ask them how to go about getting approved for a wild animal license. Different parts of the country have different regulations; some require six-foot-tall enclosures, regular vaccinations, etc. If a deer is discovered as an unregistered pet, it can potentially be euthanized according to various laws. Make sure the seller you buy from has the proper official, signed documents. Also, it is a good idea to pay with a check, not cash. When I discovered the state that we were living in required a license for domestic deer, I sold her to a responsible farm with proper licensing. Different states require permits for safety reasons, not because the local government is heartless (as one blogger declared). Muntjac deer can be vectors for many different diseases, meaning they can carry (often times without any symptoms) and spread diseases. If a certain disease is common in an area, then it makes sense to require pets, which are in contact with humans frequently, to be tested for these diseases and receive vaccinations, certification documents, etc. If a disease is very common in an area, it makes even more sense to ban deer as pets completely. Tuberculosis is one of the diseases commonly spread by deer. It is also the number one cause of death in the world. Laws regarding wild animals as pets are not to be ignored; they are for your safety. I do not wish to give these adorable creatures a bad reputation, but this information is everything that I wish I had known before diving into motherhood with a young leaf muntjac. Thank you for taking the time to read about my unforgettable adventure. Feel free to email me with any questions at Please include your age and state of residence. I do not take emails filled with grammatical errors seriously. Do not expect a reply if the word deers is included (this happens more than it should). I sold my female leaf muntjac before she reached five months old, so please note that I have zero experience with males, any other species of deer besides the leaf muntjac, and full-grown muntjacs. "
"muntjac info"

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