Southern Pudu

(Pudu puda)




Facts about this animal

The Southern Pudu is one of the smallest deer in the world with a shoulder height of 40 cm and a head-body length of 80 cm. Their low-slung and rounded form, similar to many small forest ungulates, is an adaptation to slip through dense undergrowth, notably bamboo thickets. Adults weigh between 7 and 14 kg. Males have spike antlers usually less than 10 cm long that are shed once a year. Both sexes have pronounced pre-orbital and frontal glands, however more prominently used for scent marking by the male. Other forms of scent marking include site-specific defecation and urination.

Gestation period is 7 months and the birth weight averages 900 g. The fawn has a spotted coat, while the adults vary from dark brown to a reddish fawn. While in Chile and Argentina fawns are dropped in November December, most pudus kept by european zoos are born between April and July. Sexual maturity is reached with less than one year in both sexes.

Southern Pudus are active both day and night, live solitary or pair-wise and occupy home ranges varying from 16-26 ha. They are versatile in their food habits, eating bark, twigs, buds, blossoms, fruit and berries, but feed predominantly on herbaceous vegetation. Longevity in captivity is up to 17 years.

Did you know?
that Southern pudus form the major part of the Puma's diet in parts of Chile?


Name (Scientific) Pudu puda
Name (English) Southern Pudu
Name (French) Pudu du sud
Name (German) S├╝dpudu
Name (Spanish) Pudu meridional, Venadito
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Wilfried Berns



Range Argentina, Chile
Habitat Dense, temperate rainforests
Wild population 10.000 individuals (1987) and decreasing (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 135 in International Studbook (128 reported to ISIS)

In the Zoo

Southern Pudu


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations, should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Andrzej Barabasz

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Southern Pudu is the only of the small South American deer species maintained with a good population size in captivity outside their countries of origin. The current international studbook population is 135 in 41 institutions. They act as representatives of their temperate Valdivian forest habitat, which is under grave threat from habitat destruction.


Due to their small size they make a good display, even with only limited space available. Their social organization, body form and conservation concern make an interesting story for the education of visitors. With good and diligent care they are one of the zoo keeper´s favourites. Threats include hunting by humans and dogs, habitat destruction of their native forests and competition with livestock.