musk deer

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Related to Musk-deer: Moschus moschiferus

musk deer,

small, antlerless deer, Moschus moschiferus, found in wet mountain forests from Siberia and Korea to the Himalayas. In summer it ranges up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m). It is from 20 to 24 in. (50–60 cm) high at the shoulder, with a brown coat, a pointed face, and large ears. The male has tusklike upper canine teeth curving down and backwards from the sides of the mouth, and a musk gland, called the pod, in the skin of the abdomen. Destruction of the animal for muskmusk,
odorous substance secreted by an abdominal gland of the musk deer, used in perfume as a scent and fixative. The gland, found only in males, grows to the size of a hen's egg; the secretion is reddish-brown, with a honeylike consistency and a strong odor that may function in
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, which is used in perfume, has greatly reduced its numbers, and it has been exterminated in part of its range. It is classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Cervidae.

Musk Deer


(Moschus moschiferus), an artiodactylous mammal of the family Moschidae. The body is up to 1 m long; height at the withers, up to 70 cm; weight, up to 17 kg. The hind legs are disproportionately long; hence the sacrum of a standing animal is much higher than the withers. The head is small and the ears large. There are no horns. The male has long fangs that reach below the chin when its mouth is closed and a special gland on the abdomen that secretes musk. The coloring runs from light yellowish brown to dark brown-black, usually with small, light spots. The tail is short.

The musk deer is found in Asia (the Altai, Eastern Siberia, the Far East, Eastern China, and eastern Tibet) in mountain taiga with cliffs and rock streams. It is usually solitary, though it occasionally forms small groups. It feeds on plants, predominantly tree lichens. At the beginning of winter it mates, with fights among the males over the females. Between the end of April and July the females produce one or two offspring. The musk deer is hunted in small numbers for its musk; the meat is edible but not tasty.


Flerov, K. K. Kabargi i oleni. (Fauna SSSR: Mlekopitaiushchie, vol. 1, fasc. 2.) Moscow-Leningrad, 1952.


musk deer

a small central Asian mountain deer, Moschus moschiferus. The male has long tusklike canine teeth and secretes musk