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(chevrotains), a family of ruminant mammals of the order Artiodactyla. Unlike other ruminants, chevrotains have a stomach of three instead of four compartments (there is no omasum). The length of the body is 45 to 100 cm, and the height at the shoulders is 20 to 36 cm. Adults weigh between 2 and 15 kg. The hornless animals have relatively short and slender legs. The males have long curved tusks in the upper jaw. Each foot has four digits; the center digits are noticeably larger than the lateral ones. The coloration above and on the sides is brown, usually with light spots and stripes. The underpart is white.
There are two genera of chevrotains: the African Hyemoschus and the Asian Tragulus. The former genus has a single species, the water chevrotain (H. aquaticus). Chevrotains are found in tropical Africa, in southern and southeastern Asia, and on the Malay Archipelago. They live in tropical rain forests and mangrove thickets, often near bodies of water. The animals are shy, solitary, and nocturnal. They are essentially vegetarians, feeding on fallen fruit and aquatic plants. It is likely that chevrotains may also eat insects and other small animals.
REFERENCEZhizn’zhivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.
I. I. SOKOLOV