This pretty little creature, tragulus meminna, called by Europeans the "mouse-deer," ükkülam by the Tamils, mi-minna by the Sinhalese, is found everywhere in the Island except on the higher hills. It frequents high forest, loves rocky places and is never far from water. It is generally solitary, but pairs of them are sometimes come on. They are not "game " and may be shot at any time.
Full-grown males stand from 9 to 12 in. high, weigh from 5 to 6 lbs. and have no horns. They have, however, sharp little tusks or canine teeth in the upper jaw with which they can inflict painful wounds. They are of an olive brown colour mottled with ash grey, have dark longtitudinal stripes along the back and are white underneath. Those found on the hills are darker in colour than low-country specimens. They take shelter in bad weather and from enemies in hollow trees and crevices under rocks. The does bring up their young, generally two at a birth, in these retreats.
Sportsrhen often come across them when looking for other game in high forest. As they bolt, tripping daintily along on the tips of their hoofs they utter sharp little bleats. It is not easy to get shots at them owing to the density of the undergrowth in which they are always found. The natives hunt them with dogs, and numbers are killed in this way. They say that the little creatures are sometimes caught by their feet becoming clogged with dead leaves through which their sharp hoofs had penetrated. The meat is eatable but is not very palatable. They are often kept as pets, but though very pretty, are uninteresting creatures. They have been known to breed in confinement, but as a rule die soon after capture.