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Musk deer: description, interesting facts, photo

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fanged deer

• pectoral bone in the bird, from the Tatar “kabyrga” - rib

• ungulate, Siberian hornless deer

• artiodactyl ruminant living in the mountain taiga of Asia

• artiodactyl, whose “stream” is highly valued

• Siberian and Asian hornless mountain artiodactyl animal

• beast with musk

• hornless beast of Siberia

• Siberian hornless deer

• deer giving musk

• roe of Siberian nationality

• musk hoofed Siberia

• Siberian musk roe deer

• musk deer of Altai and Tibet

• Siberian musk deer kinsman

• Altai fanged deer congener

• Siberian musk deer kinsman

• Siberian hornless roe deer

• Siberian mountain artiodactyl animal

• Artiodactyl ruminant suborder

• pectoral bone in a bird, from the Tatar "kabyrga" - rib

• g. a goat, an armless Siberian animal from a deer family, from a male (aka, piglet, nose, stream) from an abdominal purse, it is a musk deer, musk deer or musk deer, musk, Moschus moschiferus. Cabaret, cabaret hunter, forester. Musk deer, thief. skinny, bad cattle, oder, goat, filly, breast bone in the bird's eye

• roe of Siberian "nationality"

• artiodactyl, whose "stream" is very much appreciated

What a wondrous beast?

Musk deer is one of the varieties of deer. True, it is very different from its closest relatives in both size and appearance. Another name for it is musk deer. The musk deer gained its fame thanks to two reasons: unusual fangs and musk.

This deer has two front fangs that grow from the upper jaw. Because of them, the musk deer gained fame as a vampire hunting other animals. Moreover, before, people believed that this beast was an evil spirit, and shamans often hunted it in order to get their teeth as a magic trophy.

The time of superstition has sunk into oblivion, but the persecution of these animals has not stopped. After all, the animal of musk deer is known for another feature, namely musk. It was this substance that became the goal of many poachers who were ready to destroy the whole species, in order to get such a coveted reward.

Appearance

What does musk deer look like? In the photo, the animal resembles a cross between a roe deer and a deer, though without horns. It just so happened that this species is completely devoid of bone growths on the head, as well as the lacrimal openings under the eyes.

Musk deer rarely grows more than one meter in length. As for its height, at the moment the largest spotted individual was not more than 80 cm. Moreover, its weight ranges from 12 to 18 kilograms. The color of the coat can vary from dark brown to light brown.

Musk deer is an animal known for its long fangs. True, only males have them and can reach up to 7 cm in length. For musk deer, they serve as a protection tool, and only during the mating season can gentlemen use them as a way to prove their superiority over others.

Musk deer: habitat

This animal prefers mountainous areas, and therefore the main range of its habitat is indicated by the mountains of China and Tibet. But in Russia you can meet him. So, musk deer is found on a very vast territory: from the lower Altai to the Amur itself.

A favorite place for musk deer is the forest. Therefore, it is here that the animal spends most of the time. However, this does not mean that the deer does not wander high in the mountains. So, there is evidence that some individuals live in the Himalayas, at an altitude of more than 3,000 m above sea level.

Musk deer habits

This species of deer is used to a solitary lifestyle. This rule is violated only during the mating season, and then not for long. By the way, during mating games, the males of the musk deer become very aggressive towards each other. Quite often, their skirmishes lead to bloody fights on fangs, which can sometimes be fatal.

In the rest of the year they lead a quiet and measured lifestyle. They feed mainly on moss and fresh foliage. Therefore, the rumor that musk deer drinks blood is only an empty superstition that has nothing to do with the truth.

In addition, the musk deer is very shy, any danger makes him run without looking back. It’s almost impossible to catch up with him. Due to the special structure of the body, it can change the trajectory of running, without even slowing down.

Musk hunt

In the old days, the musk deer population was not in danger. Her meat was not suitable for consumption, as it had an unpleasant aftertaste. As for the skin, although it retained heat, it was still much worse than other animals. So the only enemies of the deer were shamans and mystics, collecting their fangs. But everything changed at a time when Chinese alchemists began to use musk in their medicines.

For those who don’t know, musk is a viscous substance with a pungent odor. Each male musk deer has a special gland that secrets this secret. She also became an object of hunting for many healers and healers. According to Chinese folk medicine, there are more than 200 potions and ointments infused with musk.

A little later, this substance began to be used in perfumes. Due to the astringency of the fragrance, it quickly gained popularity among fashionistas and fashionistas of that time. Therefore, the pursuit of musk only intensified.

Ultimately, everyone who wanted to make money quickly hunted musk deer. This led to the fact that the number of these animals decreased to such a limit that they were on the verge of complete extinction.

Musk deer fighting

Fortunately, the world is not without good people. A similar decline in musk deer numbers has sparked outrage from animal rights activists. And so they began to conduct active actions aimed at protecting them.

Thanks to their intervention, the musk deer was listed in the Red Book, and poachers hunting it answered in all severity of the law. Such measures saved the animal from extinction, although a complete restoration of the musk deer abundance will not take place soon.

Beast in captivity

However, with the ban on hunting, the need for musk has not disappeared. And so farmers tried to breed a species that could live in captivity. The first attempts were a failure, as the musk deer died very quickly. But over time, nevertheless, it turned out to breed a breed that lives according to the rules of man.

True, as the farmers themselves assure, caring for her is still that work. In particular, a lot of trouble occurs during the period when the males are ready for mating. Nevertheless, this approach greatly helped the wild musk deer, reducing the demand for their glands.

Musk deer, or fanged deer (Moschus moschiferus)

In its appearance and behavior, the musk deer occupies an intermediate position between deer and deer. The length of her body is up to 1 m, her tail is 4-6 cm, the height at the withers is up to 70 cm, and her weight is 11-18 kg. The hind legs are disproportionately long; therefore, the sacrum of the musk deer is 5–10 cm higher than the withers. The tail is short.

Unlike deer, to which musk deer are sometimes referred, she does not have horns. In males, long curved fangs protruding 7–9 cm from under the upper lip play the role of tournament weapons. They also have an abdominal gland producing musk.

Musk deer wool is thick and long, but brittle. The color is brown or brown. Young animals have fuzzy light gray spots scattered on their sides and back.

Spread

Musk deer is distributed from the Eastern Himalayas and Tibet to Eastern Siberia, Korea and Sakhalin, inhabiting the steep slopes of the mountains, covered with coniferous forests. Maintains mainly at an altitude of 600-900 m, rarely up to 1600 m above sea level or higher, only in Tibet and the Himalayas it rises to a height of 3000 m or more.

Lifestyle & Nutrition

Favorite habitats of musk deer are dark-coniferous plots of taiga with placers and rock outcrops. In these areas, animals live settled, singly (less often in groups), occupying individual sites on average from 30 hectares in summer and up to 10-20 ha in winter.

Musk deer is a great jumper, almost unrivaled in maneuverability. It is capable of galloping, without slowing down, changing the direction of travel by 90 °. Fleeing from the pursuer, the musk deer, like a hare, confuses the tracks.

Epiphytic and terrestrial lichens predominate in the diet of musk deer. In winter, their share in its diet is This feature of nutrition determines the distribution of musk deer in isolated areas. As an addition to the diet, it also eats fir needles and cedar, some umbellate, blueberry leaves, ferns, horsetail and other plant foods. Typically, animals feed on windy trees hung with lichens, eat them from fallen branches and collect lichen litter from the surface of the snow. Musk deer gathering food can climb an inclined tree trunk or jumping from branch to branch to a height of 3-4 m.

Musk deer have many natural enemies. In the Far East, its main enemy is the Kharza, which preys on musk deer by families. Often a lynx is waiting for a musk deer to feed, a wolverine and a fox chase.

Social structure and reproduction

Musk deer keeps alone, less often - in groups of up to three goals. In family groups, contacts between animals are peaceful, but they are extremely aggressive in relation to alien individuals. During the rutting between males of the same age, real fights take place - animals as if chasing each other, trying to hit with the front legs or fangs on the croup, ridge or neck of the enemy. During long fights, one of the fighters often knocks the other to the ground, kicks him, and then sticks fangs into him, which can lead to the death of the defeated.

Musk deer mates in December and January. After 185-195 days, the females give birth to 1-2 cubs.

Young musk deer reach puberty at the age of 15-18 months. Their life expectancy in nature is only 4-5 years, but up to 10-14 years in captivity.

Musk musk deer

On the belly of the male musk deer is located musky gland, filled with a thick, acutely smelling secret of brownish-brown color. One gland of an adult male contains 10-20 g of natural musk - the most expensive product of animal origin.

The chemical composition of musk is very complex: fatty acids, wax, aromatic and steroid compounds, cholesterol esters. The main carrier of musk odor is macrocyclic ketone ketone. The volatile components of musk carry information about the age and condition of the male and can accelerate estrus in females.

The first mention of musk in Europe dates back to 390 A.D. e. Medieval doctors Ibn Sina and Serapino knew about him. In the XIV century. Marco Polo pointed to the presence of particularly valuable musk in the country of Eringul, apparently located on the territory of modern Mongolia or Western China. Musk in the East was added to the medicine for melancholy, and was also worn in pouches on the chest to prevent evil eye and spoilage. Musk has also been widely used by Arab and Tibetan folk healers as a means to enhance male sexual potency.

Musk is widely used in oriental medicine at present. In China, it is part of more than 200 prescriptions for medicines. Experiments conducted in India showed that musk has a general stimulating effect on the heart and central nervous system, and is also effective as an anti-inflammatory.

In Europe, musk as a medicine is not particularly successful, but here they found another application - in the perfume industry as a fixative for odors.

In addition to the musk gland, the males of the musk deer on the inner surface of the tail have glands that secrete a secret with a sharp "goat" smell. During bowel movements, feces, in contact with the gland, acquire this smell.

In the middle of the 20th century, the first musk deer farms appeared in Saudi Arabia, where musk is extracted in a humane way without injuring the animal.

The animals are caught by stationary box traps, which excludes the development of a defensive reaction in animals to humans as a dangerous stimulus. To attract musk deer into a trap box, a food bait is used - lichen or grain. The captured beast is driven into an immobilization box, the design and dimensions of which do not allow the animal to move. Then the male is euthanized by injection of xylazine in combination with ketamine. Immobilization and sleep last an average of 40 minutes, and a full restoration of the motor activity of the beast occurs in four to five hours. Before squeezing the musk, a silver spatula with a gutter is introduced into the bag, along which the secret of the gland is removed.

After the selection of musk, the immobilized male is overexposed all this time in a special box. It is very important to note that not one musk deer male was killed or injured during the extraction of musk grains.

He received particular popularity in the Middle East, where black musk is the most popular men's fragrance. The aroma is sharp, tart, persistent.

Classification

There are 5 subspecies of musk deer (Moschus moschiferus) :

  • Siberian musk deer (M. moschiferus moschiferus) - distributed in Altai, in Eastern Siberia, west to the Yenisei and east to the Lena River, in Transbaikalia, Northern Mongolia, in Greater and Lesser Khingan and in the west of the Stanovoi Range,
  • Sakhalin musk deer (M. moschiferus sachalinensis) - inhabits the island of Sakhalin,
  • Far Eastern musk deer (M. moschiferus turowi) - lives in Sikhote Alin and west to the Zeya River,
  • Verkhoyansk, or arctic, musk deer (M. moschiferus arcticus) - inhabits the Verkhoyansk ridge and Chersky ridge to the west to the Lena River and east to Kolyma, Aldan and the Stanovoi Range.
  • Musk deer (M. moschiferus parvipes) - inhabits the Korean peninsula and surrounding areas.

Population Status and Protection

Musk deer in the Russian Federation is a hunting species. Officially, according to the results of the surveys, it is recognized that the number of musk deer in Russia is 120-125 thousand. The annual seizure limit is about 1,500 animals. Extraction is carried out for the sake of the musk gland - the “stream”, therefore males are the object of hunting.

  • Amur Region - 130-150 kg,
  • Jewish Autonomous Region - 10-15 kg,
  • Primorsky Territory - 100-115 kg,

Total in the region - 420-480 kg

In the Altai-Sayan region, illegal buying up of a "jet" in the period 1998-2001 was:

  • Republic of Tuva - 100 kg,
  • Republic of Khakassia - 30 kg,
  • Krasnoyarsk sector of the region - 40 kg,
  • Altai Republic - 20 kg

Habitat

Almost the entire world population of musk deer is distributed in the north of Russia. The habitat of the species is the Altai Mountains, Sayan Mountains, the system of mountains of Eastern Siberia and Yakutia, the Far East and Sakhalin. Deer lives in all taiga forests of mountainous terrain.

In the southern territories, the species lives in small foci in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, China, Korea, and Nepal. The deer was also found in India, near the foothills of the Himalayas, but is practically exterminated there now.

The same fate befell him in the mountains of Vietnam. Musk deer lives in dense forests on steep mountain slopes. Most often you can meet him at an altitude of 600-900 meters, but they are found at 3000 meters in the mountains of the Himalayas and Tibet.

Musk deer very rarely migrate, preferring to stay in a selected area. Females and deer of yearlings have a small territory, while adult males, older than three years of age, occupy up to 30 hectares. taiga forest for their land.

Females and yearlings are mainly oriented to the amount of food, and the habitat of individual males depends on the number of females in the territory, and the absence of other males. On the territory of each male usually live from one to three females.

This unpretentious deer adapted to life even in the boreal northern forests.Temperature fluctuations from the East Siberian taiga are very high: from -50 to +35 C⁰, but still these artiodactyls live there.

Starting from the right bank of the Siberian Yenisei to the Pacific Ocean, a gloomy, endless taiga grows, three quarters of which are in the permafrost belt. Vast plateaus and ridges covered with dense forests of fir, cedar, spruce, completely impassable.

And only narrow animal paths between fallen trees will help to find a guide for the traveler. These dreary, cold, empty forests, completely overgrown with lichens and mosses, have chosen musk deer for their home.

The value of musk deer for humans

A musk deer hunting conducted since ancient times. If earlier the goal was to get an unusual deer skull with fangs, now the animal is valued for its ironthat produces musk.

In nature musk deer needed by males to mark their territory and attract females during the rutting season. Since ancient times man has used musk musk deer for medical and cosmetic purposes.

Even ancient Arabs, healers mentioned in their annals about Cabaret musk. In Rome and Greece, musk was used to make incense. In the east, it was used to prepare drugs for rheumatism, cardiovascular diseases, to increase potency.

In Europe, steel apply jetSiberian musk deer in the cosmetics and perfumery industry. In China, more than 400 types of medicines have been created based on musk.

Male musk deer begins to produce musk at the age of 2 years, and the gland functions until the end of life. It is located in the lower abdomen, next to the genitals, dried and crushed into a powder brings 30-50 grams of powder.

Nutrition

Small in size (no more than 1 meter in length and 80 cm in height) musk deer weighs only 12-18 kilograms. The food of this small deer is composed mainly of epiphytes and land lichens.

In winter, this is almost 95% of the diet of musk deer. In summer, it can diversify the table with blueberry leaves, some umbrella plants, needles of fir and cedar, ferns. Deer, as it were, give lichens to grow until the new winter.

During feeding, it can climb on inclined tree trunks, jump on branches and climb to a height of 3-4 meters. Unlike domestic animals, wild deer do not eat out food completely, but try to collect lichens little by little so that the feeding territory is preserved. Musk deer do not have to share their food with other animals, so there is always enough food.

Reproduction and longevity

The deer’s single lifestyle changes when the rutting season begins. In November-December, males begin to actively mark the territory with their odorous glands, put up to 50 marks per day. Use for this hill.

They try to expand their territory, and often meet with neighbors. In the struggle for a place in the sun, and therefore for a female, deer are engaged in rather fierce battles. When meeting, two males at first simply walk around each other at a distance of 6-7 meters, exposing fangs and rearing wool, giving themselves, thus, confidence and extra dimensions.

Most often, a younger deer leaves the territory. In the case when the forces are equal, a fight begins, where sharp fangs and hooves are used. Deer do not spare their strength, break off their fangs and deeply injure each other in the fight.

After mating, the female carries 1-2 cubs that are born in the summer, and reach puberty in 15-18 months. Cabbage mushrooms live only about five years. In captivity, their age reaches 10-12 years.

Currently, the musk deer population in Russia totals about 125 thousand individuals. Although in the old days the musk deer were almost completely exterminated, the view was still preserved, and now it belongs to the commercial ones. The number is regulated by hunting farms and a certain number of vouchers for shooting musk deer in different regions of the country is issued.

Why do musk deer fangs?

Both males and females have fangs. However, in females they are small and rarely protrude beyond the edges of the upper lip. But the male musk deer fangs grow all their lives, reaching a length of 10 cm!

Animals use them to intimidate an opponent. Two males walk around each other, at a distance of 6-7 meters, and, raising their heads, expose their fangs, showing them to the enemy. They are trying to take on an awesome look by raising their fur. Sometimes these demonstration games end in a fight. Then a stronger and more agile sticks its sharp fangs into the body of the enemy. Often the fangs in a fight break, and the front legs are used: rivals beat each other along the ridge, bouncing with it.

Number

Back in 1988, there were about 170 thousand individuals in our country, but by 2002 their number had decreased by almost 5 times. Almost all subspecies of the Siberian musk deer were destroyed.

In order to avoid the complete disappearance of this rare species of deer, the animal was listed in the Russian and world Red Books.

According to 2016, the number of animal musk deer in Russia is 125 thousand individuals.

Musk deer and man

Musk deer is a species whose survival is under threat, primarily due to human actions.

The main reasons for the decline in the population is the hunting of animals and the destruction of their habitat.

Today, musk deer is still a hunting species, but the limit is 1,500 individuals per year.

What is valuable musk deer

Since ancient times, musk deer in a number of Siberian peoples acted as an assistant to the shaman. His costume used animal skin, bone, and, of course, fangs.

Amulets from cabaret fangs are often found during excavations. For example, they were found in the burial place of shamans of the Stone and Iron Ages.

About 5 thousand years ago, the musk deer fangs were used to decorate the cradle to protect the baby from evil spirits. Tuvans, telengits and tofalars still use them as a talisman.

Humane Arabs

In the 50s of the last century, farms began to appear in Saudi Arabia, where animals were raised and musk was extracted without injuring them.

How did they do it?

  1. A bait, for example, grain, was placed in a stationary trap box.
  2. When the animal came into the box, its door slammed
  3. Then the captured beast was moved to an immobilization unit having a special design that immobilizes the beast.
  4. In this block, the male was euthanized by injection for 40 minutes.
  5. During the animal’s sleep, a silver spatula was inserted into the sac, along the groove of which the secret flowed out.
  6. After the musk was withdrawn, the musk deer was in a special box for another 4-5 hours, until the motor activity was completely restored.

Interesting Facts

And finally, we will share with you some interesting facts about an amazing animal.

  • Musk deer translated from Latin - "carrying musk."
  • The males need musky gland to lure females for mating. During the rut (mating period), males leave “odorous” signs everywhere, stupefying the female with aroma. The “intoxicated” female quickly finds the place where the male musk deer lives in such a landmark. No wonder one well-known brand of perfumes, focusing on musk in the composition, is advertised with the words: “The notes of musk delight women.”
  • Because of the fangs, musk deer have long been considered a vampire drinking the blood of other animals.
  • The spine of the animal is very flexible. Musk deer can stand on its hind legs for a long time.
  • Musk deer "practices" two types of couples - conservative and archaic. A conservative union involves mating an adult male with a young female. An archaic family - a pair of young individuals - can persist throughout their lives. Adults of the same age often conflict and fight, so their union is short-lived.

The amazing features of the musk deer do not make it invulnerable to predators. But the main danger for her is still a man. It is hoped that someday people will understand that the life of an animal is much more valuable than a bottle of perfume, even the most elite one.

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