Water Chevrotain

Hyemoschus aquaticus
©Mary Gustafson

Water Chevrotain, Hyemoschus aquaticus, is a squat, short-limbed, small-headed ungulate, and a rabbit-sized animal that resembles a deer. It has a red-brown coat marked with white stripes and rows of white spots. The hindquarters are larger than the front. Adults can reach an average body length of 80 cm and weigh up to 11 kg.

Chevrotains represent a living link between ruminants and non-ruminants. They are among the smallest ruminants and are often known as ‘mouse pigs’. They have a habit of lying down rump first, which is also similar to the behavior of pigs. Water chevrotains are primarily nocturnal, feeding on fruit and leaves at night and resting under dense cover during the day. As its name suggests, this animal, found in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, is capable in water, but can only swim for short periods before tiring.