Meet the Pudu, the World's Smallest Cervid
This isn't a tiny deer. It’s a pudu — the world's smallest cervid. 😍
This isn’t a dwarf deer…but a totally different animal
It’s the world’s smallest cervid. Native to South America, the genus includes 2 species. Pudu mephistophiles, the lesser known ones, live in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. And pudu puda, the most common in captivity, lives in Chile and Argentina, reported by Deer of the World Organization. The genus Pudu was first erected by English naturalist John Edward Gray in 1850. Pudua was a Latinized version of the name proposed by Alfred Henry Garrod in 1877 but was ruled invalid. Pudús are classified in the New World deer subfamily Capreolinae within the deer family Cervidae. The term "pudú" itself is derived from the Mapuche people of south-central Chile. Because they live on the slopes of the Andes Mountain Range, they are also known as the "Chilean mountain goat"
The pudu puda can reach a height of 45 cm and weigh up to 13.4 kg, but its northern cousin never exceeds 35 cm and 6 kg. As they’re extremely fearful, we know very little of how they live in the wild except that they’re solitary animals with the exception of mating season. There’s no dimorphism between males and females, but males alone have antlers. They take refuge in temperate forests, where their small size and the dense vegetation allow them to hide from predators, which range from cougars to owls stated by the IUCN. The pudú is a solitary animal whose behavior in the wild is largely unknown because of its secretive nature. Pudús are crepuscular, most active in the morning, late afternoon, and evening. Their home range generally extends about 16 to 25 ha (40 to 62 acres), much of which consists of crisscrossing pudú-trodden paths. Today, the southern pudu’s population is declining and the northern pudu is too little known for its status to be determined.