Muntjac deer

©Amy Lewis

Muntjac deer

Scientific name: Muntiacus reevesi
The muntjac deer was introduced into the UK from China in the 20th century. It has gained a stronghold in South East England, where it can cause damage to our woods through browsing.

Species information


Length: 77-91cm
Shoulder height: 45-52cm
Weight: 10-17kg
Average lifespan: 10-13 years

Conservation status

Invasive, non-native species. Protected in the UK under the Deer Act 1991.

When to see

January to December


The small, Chinese muntjac deer was introduced to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire at the start of the 20th century and rapidly spread into the surrounding area. It is now a common animal across South East England and can be found in woodland, parkland and even gardens. Muntjac deer are notorious browsers, eating the shoots from shrubs, as well as woodland herbs and Brambles. Male Muntjacs have short, unbranched antlers that slope backwards, and a pair of long canine teeth. They breed all year-round, but females usually only have one kid at a time. Muntjac deer are also known as 'barking deer' because of their dog-like calls.

How to identify

A very small, stocky deer, the muntjac deer is about the same size as a medium dog. It is gingery-brown, with a pale underside, darker stripes in its face, and small, single-pointed antlers.


Common and increasing in southern England, and spreading northwards.

Did you know?

At least seven species of Muntjac are known, from Pakistan to Java and China. Two species were actually introduced into the UK, but the one that got cosy here is the Reeves' Muntjac.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work manage many woodland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.