Musk deer

genus of mammals

Musk deer
Moschus moschiferus
Scientific classification

(Gray, 1821)

(Linnaeus, 1758)

Musk deer are a group of even-toed ungulate mammals. They form the family Moschidae. There are four species of musk deer, but they are all very similar. Musk deer are more primitive than true deer.


  • Family Moschidae
    • Himalayan Musk Deer (Moschus chrysogaster)
    • Siberian Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus)
    • Black Musk Deer (Moschus fuscus)
    • Dwarf Musk Deer (Moschus berezovskii)


Musk deer are about 90 centimeters long and about 60 centimeters high with a tail length of 4-6 centimeters. They weigh about 10 kilograms. Musk deer usually have dark brown fur. Males have long upper canine teeth (called tusks), which can be up to 7 cm long. Musk deer do not have antlers. Male musk deer also have a musk gland.


Musk deer live in the mountain forests of Asia, Russia, China, and the Korean Peninsula. They live in the mountains, mostly at heights of 2500 to 3500 meters. They live in dense forests.


Musk deer are mostly active at night. Musk deer eat grass and moss; in winter they also eat twigs and lichen.

Musk deer live alone. They only come together to mate. If two male musk deer meet, they fight, during which they can seriously hurt each other with their tusk-like teeth.

The female gives birth to 1-2 babies. A musk deer baby has spots on its fur.

Musk deer and humansEdit

Male musk deer have a gland that produces musk. Musk is used to make perfumes and soap, and it is also used in Traditional Chinese medicine. One musk gland has about 25 to 30 grams of musk. Musk deer have been hunted and killed for its musk. Because of this, musk deer have become fewer and endangered. Another method is to catch a living musk deer, take its musk, and let it go free again. This method takes more time, so it is not used often. There are also musk deer farms.

Other websitesEdit