The animal on the cover of XMPP: The Definitive Guide is a kanchil mouse deer. The kanchil (Tragulus kanchil) lesser mouse deer of Southeast Asia is the smallest of all ungulates. At a mature size, they can be as little as 45 cm (18 in) and 2 kg (4.4 lb). Another name for this little creature is chevrotain. In Indonesia, they are called kanchil (“KON-chil”), and in Malaysia, pelandok (“puh-LON-do”). There are nine species of chevrotains/mouse deer that make up the Tragulidae family.
Mouse deer are small, secretive creatures, about the size of a cat, that live in the jungles of Africa, Asia, and many Pacific islands. They have the legs and tail of a deer and the face and body of a mouse (but they are neither really a mouse nor a deer).
Mouse deer eat only plants, but lots of animals eat the mouse deer. To stay alive, they must be quick and smart. Young of lesser mouse deer are called fawns or asses. The females are called does, hinds, or cows and males are called bucks, stags, or bulls. A lesser mouse deer group is called a herd. They are the smallest known hoofed mammal. These are the average mouse deer’s measurements: body length is 70–75 cm, shoulder height is 30–35 cm, and tail length is 8–10 cm.
Mouse deer are shy and their fawn tend to be “hiders.” They are solitary animals, and usually interact only to mate. The young are weaned at 3 months of age, and reach sexual maturity between 5 and 10 months, depending on the species. Parental care is relatively limited. Although ...