Zoological name: The zoological name of musk deer is Moschus
moschiferus. The typical form M. m. moschiferus is found in India.
Distribution: They are found in India, Nepal, Russia etc. In India, musk deer are found in the Himalayan ranges.
Habitat: The ideal habitat of this deer is the dense vegetation, especially hills with rocky outcrops in coniferous, mixed or deciduous forests.
Physical feature: A mature animal may reach a height of 28 inches at the shoulder and weighs 7-17 kg. Females are heavier than males (unusual among the deer). The coat is greyish-brown to golden in colour. The salient features include small heads, longer hind legs, long and pointed central hoof, absence of antlers, presence of a pair of movable and elongated canine teeth in the upper jaw, spatula-shaped incisor teeth in lower jaw, and small and naked tail with a tuft of hair at the tip. Musk deer have a gall bladder. The most unique feature of musk deer is the musk glands for which these precious animals are recklessly hunted. The musk glands are located in between the genitals and the umbilicus of the male. It secretes a jelly-like oily substance which is reddish brown in colour with unpleasant smell. The secretion from musk gland can be collected by inserting a spoon into the aperture of the sac. When the secretion dries, the powdery mass becomes black and it emits the scent of musk. The odorous principle of musk is muscone (3 methyl cyclopentadecanone). This gland develops when the animal reaches puberty and on an average 6 to 8 g musk can be obtained from each adult animal arumally. The musk is used for preparation of perfumes. It is also believed that musk has some medicinal values.