Northern Pudu & Southern Pudu – Pudu mephistophiles & Pudu pudu
The smallest species of deer in the world is the Pudu and they are really cute to look at! In fact, their size is part of the reason why people take such a keen interest in them. They are just over a foot tall when they are fully grown. They males do grow antlers but due to the small body size of these animals they are only several inches in length.
They weigh from 26 to 30 pounds when they are fully grown with the males being larger than the females. The have a reddish brown coloring on their bodies with the face being a deeper color than the rest of the body. Their fur is long and coarse which is different from what most deer species offer.
These deer live in areas that offer them a warm climate including Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. The live in the dense forest areas but often come out to the open plains in order to find food.
We don’t know very much about the Pudu Deer in a natural habitat setting. They seem to be very secretive in their movements in order to reduce the risk of predators finding them. They are known to live a solitary life though other than for mating purposes and for raising their young. They leave huge piles of dung though as a way of marking their territory.
Due to the short stature of the Pudu Deer they have to feed from sources very close to the ground. They love to find fruit that grows seasonally around their natural habitat. They also feed on leaves and twigs from plants and lower branches of trees.
They are very adapatable to their environment though when it comes to feeding. They will get up on their hind legs to be able to reach foods that are higher up. Some of them have even been noted to climb trees. They will definitely go the distance if fruit is the food they seek.
The Pudu Deer mate in the fall and it takes about 210 days for the young to be born afterwards. Only one fawn is born at a time due to the very small bodies of the females. While the young are very small at birth, weighing about three pounds, they will be their full size by the time they are three months old.
Sexual maturity occurs about six months of age in the females. It is three times that for the males. The Pudu Deer has a life span from 8 to 10 years in the wild.
There are various conservation efforts in place for the Pudu Deer as they are facing a dwindling population in many areas. The fact that these deer are so small makes them common prey for a variety of predators. Among them are wild cats including cougars, owls, eagles, and the fox.
Helping them to increase their population often means placing them in captivity. These small deer are huge attractions at zoos. There they can also focus on mating without worrying about the young being victims of predators. Experts do their best to match up the best mates too so that the quality of the genetics can be very strong.
Pudu and Human Interaction
Most people will never see the Pudu Deer in the wild due to the way it hides and the low number of them. Yet there are humans with a fascination for this small deer and they set out to hunt it. They want the challenge of finding a deer that is hard to come by. They also like the idea of successfully hunting an animal that few other people will have the chance to.