Catch a glimpse of the unusual vampire deer while you still can.
I'll admit, I'd thought this was photoshopping at its worst when I first saw the picture. A strange-looking deer head with tiny canines protruding like some Frankenstein deer/sabertooth concoction.
I've got a little gray coming in my beard these days, and thought surely I would have known about vampire deer long before this if they were real. I was wrong.
Lo and behold vampire deer, officially called musk deer (of which there are seven varieties), are in fact real and they inhabit mountainous lands of Asia.
Click the video to take a look.
These odd-looking critters share one characteristic; they are all endangered.
Several factors have combined to result in the low number of vampire deer, or musk deer.
One factor is habitat loss. Like many animals in undeveloped or developing nations across the world, these animals are losing their habitat mostly due to deforestation.
Another factor, in fact the main factor, for the declining population of the vampire deer comes from poaching. As the video alluded to, these animals are hunted for the scent glands that give the musk deer their name.
A price tag of $20,000 a pound is big money in a rich nation like America, just imagine the life changing potential the musk holds in nations where the average family makes less than $1,200 a year. It's no small wonder their populations have taken a devastating blow over the course of the last few decades.
One thing is for sure, the musk deer faces an uncertain future. Groups of people who would work to protect the animal are unable to get much accomplished in such unstable and violent regions of the world.
Not that it's my business what those folks do with their animals over there, it just seems the world would be a bit more empty if these odd creatures were not roaming the mountains of the world.