Afghan fanged deer hadn’t been seen since 1948 until a team of researchers finally spotted the creatures in the northeast part of Afghanistan recently. The last previously known sighting of a Kashmir musk deer took place 66 years ago. Now, a Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) research team has reported five total sightings of the rare animal in rugged terrain that includes geographical features such as “alpine meadows and steep, rocky outcrops,” according to Discovery News.
A sole male Afghan fanged deer was spotted on three separate occasions. A solitary female and a female Kashmir musk deer in the company of a juvenile were also seen in the area, which is studded with dense juniper and rhododendron bushes. Despite multiple sightings, researchers were unable to document the presence of the animals on camera. The skittish critters disappeared before they could be photographed.
Why do these strange creatures have fangs? The male Afghan fanged deer use their vampire-like teeth as weapons during the breeding season as they compete for the attention of the females of their species, Moschus cupreus, or Kashmir musk deer. The fangs fend off competition while impressing potential mates.
In addition to Afghanistan, the fanged deer are native to Pakistan and India. Kashmir musk deer are considered an endangered species after being pushed to near extinction through loss of habitat and being slaughtered for their musk, prized for its use in perfume and traditional medicines, which can fetch up to $20,000 per pound on the black market, according to the Washington Post.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Afghan fanged deer isn’t the only unusual creature making headlines. A woman made her own surprise discovery when a little turtle hatchling she found crossing the road turned out to have two heads. The kindhearted animal lover brought the tiny reptile home when it had trouble keeping up with the rest of the baby turtles. When she washed off the layer of dirt covering the two-headed surprise, she learned that the creature had two heads instead of one.
A spider the size of a puppy also attracted notice, especially when the researcher who came across the monstrous arachnid in the South American rainforest received death threats for euthanizing the spider in the name of science, reported the Inquisitr. Piotr Naskrecki caught the specimen for the Center for the Study of Biological Diversity at the University of Guyana.
Speaking of spiders, remember that horrifying tale of the spider that burrowed beneath the skin of an Australian tourist in Bali? Experts agree that the arachnid probably wasn’t a spider after all. It was more likely a mite that dug its way into a man’s body via his appendectomy scar and left a trail of blisters along his stomach and chest, noted the Inquisitr. The story of this burrowing mite makes the existence of fanged deer in Afghanistan seem almost mundane by comparison.
Are you excited by the recent sighting of the Afghan fanged deer? Comments are welcome.
[Image of Siberian musk deer, which is similar to the Afghan fanged deer, via NewsNow/YouTube screenshot]