Tragulidae – Chevrotains

The most ancient family of all ruminants and the tiniest (as light as 2kg/4.4 pounds)

Chevrotains evolved 50 million years ago and now live in the tropical forests of Eastern Africa and Asia. They are also called mouse deer due to their skinny deer-like legs and mouse-like faces. Like their musk deer relatives, they also lack horns, with the males of the family sporting enlarged fang-like canines.

Due to their small size and the abundance of food in the tropics, chevrotains can afford to be fussy eaters. They prefer fruit, seeds, and flowers, which are easy to digest. Unfortunately, their size and solitary nature make them easy prey. They dash into the dense forest or rivers to escape because they are surprisingly strong swimmers.