When I used to live near Fulbourn, there was a Muntjac that came trip-tropping past the window at breakfast time every day. We never knew where it lived until one day the dog went missing and was eventually found under a bush in the garden. It was hiding in the den that the Muntjac had constructed for itself. A depression in the ground about 30 cms deep had been excavated by this little deer and the low hanging branches of the shrub effectively hid it completely from view.
It was to be precise a Reeves Muntjac, which comes from south east China and may have come from some animals introduced by the Duke of Bedford in Woburn at the turn of the last century. But it seems it is much more likely that the real source was Whipsnade zoo. They have now spread so widely and multiplied so prolifically that they are everywhere. They have invaded the cities and occupied our gardens. They are also wreaking havoc in our ancient woodlands, and around Cambridge they have a particular liking for the flowers of Oxlips. This rapidly declining local speciality is so plundered by both Muntjac and Fallow deer, that the number of flowers reaching the seed stage of their life cycle is remarkably low. The effect that this is having on plant numbers can be seen in places where the deer are excluded by deer fences. The abundant blooms inside such an exclosure are testament to the ravages everywhere else.
Muntjac appear in a number of the night time trail cam records that have been created for some of the gardens we are studying in the NatHistCam project. They come creeping at night and tiptoe around the flowerbeds in the garden, taking a hearty munch from anything they find tasty.
If you have been delighted by these exotic incomers in your garden, then do let us know. Equally if you detest the effect they have on your carefully tended plants, we would be very interested to hear from you. To let us know just what effect they are having in your garden, and your experiences with them around Cambridge go to the NatHistcam web page….the records can be submitted via:
or emailed to: