Pudú: Wikis


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Fossil range: Pleistocene – Recent
Southern Pudú
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Suborder: Ruminantia
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Capreolinae
Genus: Pudu
Gray, 1852

P. puda
P. mephistophiles


Pudua Garrod, 1877
Pudella Thomas, 1913

Pudu is a genus comprising two species of deer endemic to South America—the world's smallest and second smallest deer.[1] The etymology of the name is uncertain, but many forms are considered correct.[2] Pudús (which translates to "mapuche" or "the people of southern Chile")[3] are divided into two species: the Northern pudú (Pudu mephistophiles) is found in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile;[4] the Southern or Chilean Pudú (Pudu puda) is found in southern Chile and southwestern Argentina.[4] Pudús range in size from 32 to 44 centimeters (13 to 17 in) tall and up to 85 centimeters (33 in) long.[5] As of 2009, both species of Pudu are classified as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.



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 ruled invalid. They 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 the Chilean region and translates to 'the people of southern Chile'.[2] Because they live on the slopes of the Andes Mountain Range, they are also known as the "Chilean mountain goat".[6]

Two species of Pudú are recognised-the southern pudú and the northern pudú. The southern pudú (Pudu puda) stands 35 to 45 centimeters (14 to 18 in) tall and weighs 6.4 to 13.4 kilograms (14 to 30 lb).[7] The antlers of the southern pudú grow to be 5.3 to 9 centimeters (2.1 to 3.5 in) long and tend to curve back, somewhat like a mountain goat. Their coat is a dark chestnut-brown, and tends to tuft in the front, covering the antlers. The northern pudú (Pudu mephistophiles)[8] is close to half the height of the southern pudú and weighs 3.3 to 6 kilograms (7.3 to 13.2 lb).[7] The antlers of the northern pudú grow to about 6 centimeters (2.4 in) long, also curving backward. Their coat tends to be lighter, but their faces are darker compared to the coat. Overall, the northern pudú is the smaller of the two deer and is lighter in color.[7]


The pudú is the world's smallest deer.[1] It is a small, short-legged animal, standing 32 to 44 centimeters (13 to 17 in) high at the shoulder and up to 85 centimeters (33 in) in length. Pudús normally weigh up to 12 kilograms (26 lb),[5] but the highest recorded weight of a pudú is 13.4 kilograms (30 lb).[2] Pudús have small, black eyes, [1] black noses, and rounded ears with lengths of 7.5 to 8 centimeters (3.0 to 3.1 in). Sexual dimorphism in the species includes an absence of antlers in females. Males have short, spiked antlers that are not forked, as seen in most species of deer. The antlers, which are shed annually,[9] can extend from 6.5 to 7.5 centimeters (2.6 to 3.0 in) in length and protrude from between the ears.[5] Also on the head are large preorbital glands. Pudús have small hooves, dewclaws, and a short tail about 4 to 4.5 centimeters (1.6 to 1.8 in) in length when measured without hair. Coat coloration varies with season, gender, and individual genes. The fur is long and stiff, typically pressed close to the body, with a reddish brown to dark brown hue.[10] The neck and shoulders of an aged pudú turn a dark gray-brown in the winter.[5]

Habitat and distribution

The pudú inhabits temperate rainforests in South America, where the dense underbrush and bamboo thickets offer protection from predators.[11]. Southern Chile, southwest Argentina, Chiloe island, and northwest South America are home to the deer, from coastal elevation to 1,000 meters (3,300 ft) above sea level.[5][2]

The climate of the pudú's habitat is composed of two main seasons: a damp, moderate winter and an arid summer. Annual precipitation in these areas of Argentina and Chile ranges from 2 to 4 meters (6.6 to 13 ft).[12 ]



The pudú is a solitary animal whose behavior in the wild is largely unknown because of its secretive nature.[13] Pudús are nocturnal and diurnal, but are mostly active in the morning, late afternoon, and evening. Their home range generally extends about 16 to 25 hectares (40 to 62 acres), much of which consists of crisscrossing pudú-trodden paths. Each pudú has its own home range, or territory.[12 ] A single animal's territory is marked with sizable dung piles found on paths and near eating and resting areas. Large facial glands for scent communication allow correspondence with other pudú deer.[9] Pudú do not interact socially, other than to mate.[12 ] An easily frightened animal, the deer barks when in fear.[14][6] Its fur bristles and the pudú shivers when angered.[6]

Predators of the pudú include the Horned owl, Andean fox, Magellan fox, cougar, and other small cats. The pudú is a wary animal that moves slowly and stops often, smelling the air for scents of predators. Being a proficient climber, jumper, and sprinter, the deer flees in a zigzag path when being pursued.[15] The longevity of the pudú ranges from 8 to 10 years in the wild.[14] The longest recorded life span is 15 years and 9 months. However, such longevity is rare and most pudús die at a much younger age. These deer die from a wide range of causes. Maternal neglect as newborns as well as a wide range of diseases can decrease the population.[2] If alarmed to a high degree, pudús die from fear-induced cardiac complications.[6]


The pudú is herbivorous,[6] consuming vines, leaves from low trees, shrubs, succulent sprouts, herbs, ferns, blossoms, buds, tree bark, and fallen fruit.[12 ][16][17] They can survive without drinking water for long periods due to the high water content of the succulent foliage in their diet.[1]

Pudús have various methods of obtaining the foliage they need. Their small stature and cautious nature create obstacles in attaining food.[17] They stop often while searching for food to stand on their hind legs and smell the wind, detecting food scents.[12 ][15] Females and fawns peel bark from saplings using their teeth, but mature males may use their spikelike antlers. The deer may use their front legs to press down on saplings until they snap or become low enough to the ground so that the pudús can reach the leaves. Forced to stand on their hind legs due to their small size, the deer climb branches and tree stumps to reach higher foliage.[9] They bend bamboo shoots horizontally in order to walk on them and eat from higher branches.[12 ]


Pudús are solitary and only come together for rut. Mating season is in the Southern Hemisphere autumn, from April to May.[11] Pudú DNA is arranged into 70 chromosomes.[2] To mate, the pudú male rests his chin on the female's back, then sniffs her rear before mounting her from behind, holding her with his forelegs.[12 ] The gestation period ranges from 202 to 223 days (around 7 months) with the average being 210 days.[2] A single offspring or sometimes twins are born in austral spring, from November to January.[11][14] Newborns weigh 700 to 1,000 grams (25 to 35 oz) with the average birth weight being 890 grams (31 oz).[2][5] Newborns less than 600 grams (21 oz) or more than 1,000 grams (35 oz) die. Females and males weigh the same at birth.[2] Fawns have reddish brown fur and Southern pudú fawns have white spots running the length of their back.[5] Young are weaned after 2 months. Females mature sexually in 6 months while males mature in 8–12 months.[9] Fawns are fully grown in 3 months but may stay with their mothers for 8 to 12 months.[11]

Endangerment and conservation

Status and conservation

As of 2009, both species of Pudu are classified as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List,[18][19] mainly because of overhunting and habitat loss. Pudu puda is listed in CITES Appendix I, and Pudu mephistophiles is listed in CITES Appendix II.[20] Many Pudús are in zoo captivity and are studied. The Southern species is more easily maintained in captivity than the Northern, though small Northern populations can be found in some zoos.[2] Pudús are difficult to transport because they are easily overheated and stressed.[5] Pudús are protected in various national parks. Parks require resources in order to enforce protection of the deer.[11]

A small deer standing in grass in an open grassed pen in a zoo
Southern Pudu in captivity at Bristol Zoo

There are efforts to preserve the pudú species before they become extinct. An international captive breeding program for the Southern Pudú led by Concepcion University in Chile has been started.[9][21] Some deer have been bred in captivity and re-introduced into Nahuel Huapi National Park in Argentina.[5] Re-introduction efforts include the use of radio collars for tracking.[22] The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has banned the international trading of pudús.[11] The Wildlife Conservation Society protects their natural habitat and works to recreate it for pudús in captivity.[15] Despite efforts made by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the size of the pudú population remains unknown.[12 ] Threats to the pudú remain despite various conservation efforts.[11]


The pudú's endangerment is caused by the destruction of their rainforest habitat. The land is cleared for human development, cattle ranching, agriculture, logging, and exotic tree plantations.[9][1][11] Habitat fragmentation and road accidents cause pudú deaths. They are taken from the wild as pets, as well exported illegally.[11][5] They are overhunted and killed for food by specially trained hunting dogs.[1][22][11] With the introduction of exotic species of European red deer, pudús must compete for food. Domestic dogs prey upon the deer and spread parasites through contact. Pudús are very susceptible to diseases like bladder worms, lungworms, roundworms, and heartworms.[11][15]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Southern Pudu". Animal Planet. 2009. http://animal.discovery.com/guides/mammals/habitat/tempforest/southpudu.html. Retrieved 19 September 2009.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Benirschke, Kurt (2004). "Chilean (Southern) Pudu". University of California, San Diego. http://placentation.ucsd.edu/pudu.html. Retrieved 17 September 2009.  
  3. ^ Huffman, Brent (2006). "Southern Pudu". http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Pudu_puda.html/pudu.html. Retrieved 2009-09-17.  
  4. ^ a b Grubb, Peter (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=14200324.  
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Schürer, Ulrich (1986). "Pudu pudu". Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. http://www.cites.org/eng/resources/ID/fauna/Volume1/A- Retrieved 17 September 2009.  
  6. ^ a b c d e "Fauna of Patagonia: rainforest fauna – Chile". Elavellano Lodge. http://www.elavellano-lodge.com/wildlife-fauna-observation-tours-patagonia-rainforest-ecotourism-chile.php. Retrieved 19 September 2009.  
  7. ^ a b c Geist, Valerius (September 1998). Deer of the World: Their Evolution, Behaviour, and Ecology. Stackpole Books. pp. 119–121. ISBN 978-0811704960. http://books.google.com/books?id=bcWZX-IMEVkC&pg=PA119&lpg=PA119&dq=pudu+deer+behavior&source=bl&ots=TJIQMJezKH&sig=VSDhTsp20akdZTdj3hFWKrWk16E&hl=en&ei=jjG1SsCUBtyx8QbqtOW5Dg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2#.  
  8. ^ "Forest South America". Animal Welfare Institute. http://www.endangeredspecieshandbook.org/forest_south.php. Retrieved 20 September 2009.  
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Southern Pudu". Bristol Zoo. http://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/learning/animals/mammals/pudu. Retrieved 19 September 2009.  
  10. ^ Meyer W, Seegers U, Bock M. (2007). "Annual secretional activity of the skin glands in the Southern pudu (Pudu puda Molina 1782, Cervidae)". Mammalian Biology 73: 392–95. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2007.10.006.  
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Southern Pudu". Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. Arkive – Images of Life on Earth. http://www.arkive.org/southern-pudu/pudu-puda/facts-and-status.html. Retrieved 19 September 2009.  
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Pollard, Sarah. "Pudu Puda". University of Michigan. Museum of Zoology. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pudu_puda.html. Retrieved 17 September 2009.  
  13. ^ "The Wildlife of Northern Patagonia". Frontier Patagonia. http://frontierpatagonia.com/FrontierPatagonia/Wildlife.htm. Retrieved 20 September 2009.  
  14. ^ a b c "Southern Pudu". Brevard Zoo. 2009. http://www.brevardzoo.org/explore_australasia.php?id=164. Retrieved 19 September 2009.  
  15. ^ a b c d Williams, Jasmin (22 May 2008). "Meet the World's Smallest Deer". New York Post. http://www.nypost.com/p/classroom_extra/meet_the_world_smallest_deer_iYvey68QMn6kEW0peQbleJ. Retrieved 17 September 2009.  
  16. ^ "Pudu". Chester Zoo. 2009. http://www.chesterzoo.org/AnimalsandPlants/Mammals/HoofedAnimals/Pudu.aspx. Retrieved 19 September 2009.  
  17. ^ a b "Southern Pudu". Los Angeles Zoo. http://www.lazoo.org/animals/mammals/southernpudu/index.html. Retrieved 19 September 2009.  
  18. ^ Barrio, J. & Tirira, D. (2008) Pudu mephistophiles In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. www.iucnredlist.org Retrieved on 2010-01-09.
  19. ^ Jimenez, J. & Ramilo, E. (2008) Pudu puda In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. www.iucnredlist.org Retrieved on 2010-01-09.
  20. ^ CITES Appendix I, II, and III
  21. ^ Jimenez, J.; E. Ramilo (2008). "Pudu puda". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/18848/0. Retrieved 2009-12-25.  
  22. ^ a b "Chilean Pudu". Minnesota Zoo. 2009. http://www.mnzoo.com/animals/animals_pudu.asp. Retrieved 17 September 2009.  

Pudu may refer to:

  • Pudú, a genus of small deer;
  • Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, a town;
  • Pudu (1255–1330), a Buddhist monk in Yuan China, native of Danyang, Zhenjiang. Follower of Mao Ziyuan, propagator of the orthodoxy in the White Lotus teaching.
  • Pudu Temple, zh:普度寺, one of the eight central temples in Beijing.

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