What on earth is the growth (if that's what it is) beneath this muntjac's left eye?
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It looks like some kind of worm; doesn't it? but, are you sure Simon, it isn't one of those optical illusions? When I first looked at the pic (before enlarging it) I thought it was part of the grass that appears to be something like Rhino horns!
It's definitely real, and nothing to do with the vegetation. That was my first thought, but when I looked at all the pictures I took (about forty of them) it's in the same place, even when the grass gas moved. And the vegetation is out of focus when the deer is in focus, and vice versa. A narrow depth of field is the curse of using a 500mm F4 lens, but on this occasion it confirms that this is on the animal's cheek.
Having looked at Murdo's comments, and Googled muntjac gland and checked the images, that's what it is: the scent gland.
Male Muntjac have a large gland in that position, for rubbing on vegetation etc. to mark its range. I think that is what you are seeing, but it does look abnormal - perhaps infected? Google some images of the beast and you will see the normal appearance.
recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.
That's what it is, alright. I've never noticed it before. But then they're usually pretty timid. This one was one of two, grazing, and after checking me out for a moment, they ignored me. It was really frustrating, waiting for them to raise their heads again - they only stopped eating momentarily to make sure I hadn't moved...
This is the scent gland, however, it is very large and swollen, I suspect it has an infection, poor thing.
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