The Vampire Deer or the Water Deer is native to China and Korea, there are two subspecies, the Chinese water deer and the Korean water deer. When you look closely at the water or “vampire” deer, they are very different from any other type of deer you’ve seen. The most noticeable part of its appearance is the two robust tusks that come out from the edges of the water deer’s mouth.
The Vampire Deer is small in its size and it is closer in its characteristics to the musk deer than the true deer.
These Deeracula also has an adorable set of teddy bear-like ears. You might imagine these fanged deer running around at night trying to find and stalk unsuspecting victims to feed on their blood. But these Vampire Deer are actually harmless, they are herbivores.
Like antlers in other deer, vampire deer fangs are mostly used as weapons by competing males for territories and access to breeding females. The males, or bucks, use their tusks to fight off other bucks for potential mates and to protect themselves against predators.
Like most musk deer breeds, Chinese water deer grow tusks instead of antlers which can grow up to more than two inches long. These unusual “fangs” or tusks have earned the water deer the nickname “vampire deer.” These fangs can grow up to 2 inches and more in length.
The water deer is among the smallest species of deer that exist worldwide. Indeed, true to their teddy bear appearance, both adult males and females only grow to about two to three feet high and weigh about 25 to 40 pounds.
Most of the remaining species of fanged deer left are now endangered due to poaching and habitat loss. Musk deer in particular are heavily targeted by poachers for their musk glands, which are used in perfume and traditional Asian medicine.
Despite most fanged deer being endangered, one area where they’re doing really well is Great Britain. Although they are native to East Asia, the water deer were brought into U.K. territory in the 1800s. A few fanged deer species escaped from zoos or were introduced in the wild people many years ago.
The water deer population in the U.K. alone accounts for 10 percent of the world’s Chinese water deer population. Because the Chinese water deer is so adaptable, it can also be found in Argentina and even some parts of the U.S.