1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Water-deer

WATER-DEER, a small member of the deer-tribe from northern China differing from all other Cervidae except the musk-deer (with which it has no affinity) by the absence of antlers in both sexes. To compensate for this deficiency, the bucks are armed with long sabre-like upper tusks (see Deer). The species typifies a genus, and is known as Hydrelaphus (or Hydropotes) inermis; but a second form has been described from Hankow under the name of H. kreyenbergi, although further evidence as to its claim to distinction is required. Water-deer frequent the neighbourhood of the large Chinese rivers where they crouch amid the reeds and grass in such a manner as to be invisible, even when not completely concealed by the covert. When running, they arch their backs and scurry away in a series of short leaps. In captivity as many as three have been produced at a birth.

This is one of the few deer in which there are glands neither on the hock nor on the skin covering the cannon-bone. These glands probably enable deer to ascertain the whereabouts of their feUows by the scent they leave on the ground and herbage. The sub-aquatic habits of the present species probably render such a function impossible, hence the absence of the glands. The tail is represented by a mere stump.  (R. L.*)