Lesser mouse-deer

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

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


The lesser mouse-deer is found widely across Southeast Asia in Indochina, Burma (isthmus of Kra), Brunei, Cambodia, China (S Yunnan), Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatra and many small islands), Laos, Malaysia (peninsular Malaya, Sarawak and many 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


The Malay or Indonesian name kancil, (pronounced 'kanchil' or 'kahn-cheel', as in the species' name) means both mouse-deer and 'clever person'. The generic name Tragulus, is composed of Tragos, 'goat' in Greek, and –ulus, meaning 'tiny' in Latin.


In Indonesian and Malaysian folktale, the mouse deer Sang Kancil wanted to cross the river to reach the fruit trees on the far side, but Sang Buaya, the big bad crocodile was waiting in the river to eat him. Sang Kancil called to Sang Buaya and told him the king was inviting everyone to a feast, for which he needed to know how many crocodiles would be coming. Sang Kancil asked all the crocodiles to line up across the river, so he could count them for the king, and made them promise not to eat him as he counted. He then stepped on their heads, one by one, calling out "One! Two! Three!" as he went. When he reached the far side he thanked them for helping him cross the river, and feasted on the delicious fruit, but Sang Buaya did not do so well, as all the other crocodiles were angry with him for letting Sang Kancil trick them.[2]


  1. Timmins, R.J.; Duckworth, J.W. & Semiadi, G. (2008). "Tragulus kanchil". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 6 November 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
  2. Chok, Yoon Foo; Traditional (2008). "Outwitting a Crocodile: A Traditional Malaysian Folktale". Topics Magazine. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
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