Lesser mouse-deer
A lesser mouse-deer in a German zoo
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Tragulidae
Genus: Tragulus
T. kanchil
Binomial name
Tragulus kanchil
Raffles, 1821

The lesser mouse-deer, lesser Malay chevrotain, or kanchil (Tragulus kanchil) is a species of even-toed ungulate in the family Tragulidae.


The lesser mouse-deer is found widely across Southeast Asia in Indochina, Burma (Kra Isthmus), Brunei, Cambodia, China (Southern Yunnan), Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatra and many other small islands), Laos, Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and many other small islands), Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.


It is the smallest known hoofed mammal, its mature size being as little as 45 cm (18 inches) and 2 kg (4.4 lb). It is threatened by predation by feral dogs.

Adult lesser mouse deer from Singapore
Adult lesser mouse deer from Singapore

Through further research it is also discovered that the creatures who were initially believed to be nocturnal actually conduct their activities during the day. As discovered by Kusuda, the first being that though many births occur in May, November or December, the females are able to reproduce throughout the year (Kusuda et al).


In an Indonesian and Malaysian folklore, the mouse-deer Sang Kancil is a cunning trickster similar to Br'er Rabbit from the Uncle Remus tales, even sharing some story plots, like when they both trick enemies pretending to be dead or inanimate,[2][3] or lose a race to slower opponents.[4][5]


  1. ^ Timmins, R. & Duckworth, J.W. (2015). "Tragulus kanchil". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T136297A61978576. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  2. ^ Backus, Emma M. (1900). "Folk-Tales from Georgia". The Journal of American Folklore. 13 (48): 19–32. doi:10.2307/533730. JSTOR 533730.
  3. ^ Jon C. Stott (21 September 2010). A Book of Tricksters: Tales from Many Lands. Heritage House Publishing Co. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-926613-69-7.
  4. ^ Rahimidin Zahari. Sang Kancil and the snail. ITBM. p. 49. ISBN 978-967-460-035-8.
  5. ^ "Uncle Remus (Myth-Folklore Online)".

Kusuda, S., Adachi, I., Fujioka, K., Nakamura, M., Amano-Hanzawa, N., Goto, N., et al. (2013). Reproductive characteristics of female lesser mouse deers (tragulus javanicus) based on fecal progestagens and breeding records. Animal Reproduction Science, 137(1-2), 69-73. doi:10.1016/j.anireprosci.2012.12.008