The Balabac Mouse Deer, scientifically known as Tragulus nigricans, is a small and elusive mammal native to the Philippines, specifically found in the Balabac Island group in the southwestern part of the country. It is also commonly referred to as the Balabac Chevrotain and its local name is Pilandok.

It is one of the world’s smallest hoofed animals. It has a compact and slender body, with a distinctive dark brown to black coat. The fur is dense and coarse, often with pale spots or markings.

Pilandok is primarily nocturnal, meaning it is most active during the night. It feeds on a variety of plant material, including leaves, fruits, and shoots.

The Balabac Mouse Deer holds cultural importance in the Philippines, especially among the local communities in the Balabac region. It is often depicted in local stories, folklore, and artwork.

Where to find the Balabac Mouse Deer?

This species primarily inhabits forests, grasslands, and brushy areas within its range. It is well adapted to its environment, with a keen sense of smell and agility that helps it navigate through dense vegetation.

The Balabac Mouse Deer is endemic to the Philippines, specifically to the Balabac Island group in Palawan Province. This means it is found nowhere else in the world. The limited geographical range makes it particularly vulnerable to threats. If you’re interested in seeing this elusive and rare creature, you would need to visit the Balabac Island group, which is located in the southwestern part of the Philippines.

To reach Balabac, you would typically need to take a combination of land and sea transportation from the nearest major city, Puerto Princesa. The journey can involve multiple transfers and can take some time due to the remote location of Balabac Island.

Pilandok is classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its population has been declining due to habitat loss, hunting, and other factors.

Due to its small size, elusive nature, and limited distribution, the Balabac Mouse Deer is a unique and intriguing species that plays a role in the Philippines’ biodiversity. Efforts to conserve this remarkable animal are essential to ensure its survival and to maintain the ecological balance of its native habitat.

Map of Balabac Island


Cover photo by Klaus Rudloff

Additional Information

Read more about the Balabac Mouse Deer and the Balabac Island. Check out the links below to discover more.

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