Our 5 Muntjac Deer have moved to a lovely new home within the park. Previously they were in the animal handling barn but they have now moved to a more permanent home outside next to the Shires stable. You will see some yellow tape tied to the perimeter fence which is to help them establish the boundaries of their new environment. They are settling in really well and you will hopefully see them venturing out soon.
Muntjac were brought from China to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire in the early 20th century. They are now widespread and increasing in number and range. Deliberate releases and escapes from Woburn, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire led to the establishment of feral populations. Movement and release by humans led to their rapid spread across south and central England and Wales.
Muntjac like deciduous or coniferous forests. They are also found in scrub and overgrown urban gardens. Unlike other species of deer in Britain, muntjac do not cause significant damage to agricultural or timber crops
In contrast to all other species of deer in Britain, muntjac do not have a defined breeding season (rut). Instead, they breed all year round and the does can conceive again within days of giving birth. Does are capable of breeding at seven months old. After a gestation period of seven months they give birth to a single kid and are ready to mate again within a few days.
Muntjac are generally solitary or found in pairs (doe with kid or buck with doe) although pair-bonding does not occur. Bucks defend small exclusive territories against other bucks whereas does’ territories overlap with each other and with several bucks.
They are known as ‘barking deer’ from the repeated loud bark given under a number of circumstances. An alarmed muntjac may scream whereas maternal does and kids squeak.
Muntjac are active throughout the 24-hour period but make more use of open spaces during the hours of darkness in populations subject to frequent disturbance. Peak activity is at dawn and dusk. Long periods are spent ‘lying up’, where the deer lies down to ruminate after feeding.