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The southern pudu, belonging to the animal kingdom of class Mammalia, family Cervidae, and genus Pudu, is a species of deer. Its scientific name is Pudu puda. The two types of pudus, southern and northern, are the smallest deer in the world. The southern pudu is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List with a decreasing population trend. Apart from several predators preying upon them, various human activities including poaching and habitat destruction are some of the many threats that are being faced by them.
A native of South America, the southern pudu is found in southern Chile and Argentina. It is slightly larger than the northern pudu. It is found on high mountains as well as on the coasts and its habitat includes forests and shrubland. This herbivorous mammal eats the leaves from trees, ferns, vines, fruits, berries, fungi, shrubs, and herbs. It also prefers grains and nuts, cereals, acorns, alfalfa hay, and salt. The southern pudu size is extremely small compared to other deer species. It has a dark brown to reddish-brown colored coat with a lighter shade on the hind legs. The males have a special distinguishing feature, that is, two antlers on its head. It weighs between 16.5-28.7 lb (7.4-13 kg) while its body length and height ranges between 27.5-32.7 in (70-83 cm) and 13.8-15 in (35-38 cm), respectively. The mating season of this mammal falls between April and June, and the female gives birth to a single young one. It can live up to 10-17 years.
A southern pudu (Pudu puda), belonging to the animal kingdom of the family Cervidae, order Artiodactyla, and genus Pudu, is the smallest species of deer in the world.
A southern pudu belongs to the class Mammalia. Its scientific name is Pudu puda.
The exact number of southern pudus in the world is unknown. However, the area of land that they inhabit provides a conclusion that their population size comprises less than 10,000 individuals.
Southern pudu distribution is not fragmented and they live in two countries in the South American continent namely, southern Chile and Argentina.
The southern pudu habitat includes forests and shrubland. Temperate rainforests and dense underbrush along with bamboo thickets are preferred by them because these protect them from predators such as wild dogs, owls, small cats, and foxes. They can also accommodate themselves in an artificial habitat such as an eucalyptus plantation.
Southern pudus are highly territorial and move in groups of two to three individuals called herds or gangs when they go out in search of food. These groups generally consist of a male, female, and a young one. Otherwise, they are solitary animals and prefer to live in exile.
An average southern pudu life-span ranges between 10-17 years.
The mating behavior of southern pudus is polygyny where the males mate with more than one female. The males and females reach their sexual maturity when they are six and eight months old, respectively. The mating season falls between the months of April to June, once a year. The gestation period lasts for about seven months after which a young one is born. Unlike most newborns, the young ones have open eyes at birth. In other words, they are precocial. The mothers look after the young ones and weaning starts after two months. The young are found living with their mothers until they are 8-12 months old.
The International Union For Conservation Of Nature, or IUCN, has marked the conservation status of a southern pudu (Pudu puda) as Near Threatened. Various human activities including poaching, habitat destruction, and predation by other animals are some of the many threats that have led to a decreasing population trend of this deer species.
The southern pudu has a dark brown or reddish brown colored, short, furry coat. The hind legs have a slightly lighter shade along with underpants. There is an orangish hue on the lips and the insides of the ears. Two short, spiked antlers of length 2.1-3.5 in (5.3-8.8 cm) are found on the head of the males. White spots are found all over the bodies of the fawns which helps them to camouflage. These spots fade away with age.
This deer species, like axis deer, is adorable considering the small size and pointed snout. The fur-covered brown coat and the round, black eyes make them look extremely cute!
Southern pudus communicate with the help of scent.. They have an acute sense of smell which also helps them to identify threats. They rub their antlers that give out a distinct smell. This smell can be generated by rubbing the preorbital glands as well.
Pudus are the smallest species of deer in the world. The body length and height of a southern pudu range between 27.5-32.7 in (70-83 cm) and 13.8-15 in (35-38 cm) respectively. The northern pudu is smaller in size than them. It is way smaller than a black-tailed deer.
The speed at which a pudu deer can run is unknown. However, cameras at conservation centers have captured them running very fast in a zigzag pattern, maneuvering through the thickets and bushes.
Being the smallest deer species, their weight ranges between 16.5-28.7 lb (7.4-13 kg). They are 10 times lighter than a reindeer that weighs between 352.7-396.8 lb (160-180 kg)!
The names for male and female deer are duck or stag, and doe, respectively.
A southern pudu baby is known as a fawn.
Being herbivorous in nature, the southern pudu diet includes leaves of trees, ferns, vines, fruits, berries, fungi, shrubs, and herbs. It also prefers grains and nuts, cereals, acorns, alfalfa hay, and salt.
Southern pudus are absolutely not dangerous. However, they do not like social interactions because they are solitary and territorial in nature. You must keep distance from them in order to not scare them off.
Petting this animal is indeed a plausible idea. However, since they do not enjoy social interactions as they are solitary in nature, it is advised to not keep them as pets. They require a specific habitat which cannot be provided indoors. Besides, it is illegal to pet them in several countries for being listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List.
Southern pudus can be seen in the zoos of Chile and Argentina in South America such as the Chilean Viejo Zoo, Edinburgh Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo, and Brandywine Zoo.
The antlers fall off from the male deer's head every year in July and new ones grow again.
Pudus deer get enough moisture from plants. They can go without drinking for a very long time.
This deer mark its territory and defend itself by leaving dung piles around food sources.
Southern pudus (Pudu puda) are not endangered. Although no concrete number can be assigned to the number of individuals that exist today, it had been found earlier that less than 10,000 are left with a decreasing population trend. However, recent studies show that the pudu population exceeds this limit, and they have been listed as Near Threatened by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature, or IUCN.
Being the world's smallest deer species, pudus have numerous predators which is a major cause of pudu deaths. Some of these predators include wild dogs, owls, small cats, and foxes. Predation is all the easier in the case of these animals as they are solitary by nature.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these saiga antelope facts and Mexican wolf facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable gazelle coloring pages.
Second image by poudou99
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