Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Pudús are the world's smallest deer, with the southern pudú being slightly larger than the northern pudú. It has a stocky frame supported by four short and slender legs. It is 32 to 44 cm (13 to 17 in) high at the shoulder and up to 85 cm (33 in) in length. Pudús normally weigh up to 12 kg (26 lb), but the highest recorded weight of a pudú is 13.4 kg (30 lb). Pudús have small, black eyes, black noses, and rounded ears ... 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, can extend from 6.5 to 7.5 cm (2.6 to 3.0 in) in length and protrude from between the ears. Also on the head are large preorbital glands. Pudús have small hooves, dewclaws, and short tails about 4.0 to 4.5 cm (1.6 to 1.8 in) in length when measured without hair. Coat coloration varies with season, sex, and individual genes. The fur is long and stiff, typically pressed close to the body, with a reddish-brown to dark-brown hue. The neck and shoulders of an aged pudú turn a dark gray-brown in the winter.
The pudú inhabits temperate rainforests in South America, where the dense underbrush and bamboo thickets offer protection from predators. Southern Chile, south-west Argentina, Chiloé Island, and northwest South America are home to the deer. The northern pudú is found in the northern Andes of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, from 2,000 to 4,000 m (6,600 to 13,100 ft) above sea level. The southern species is found in the slope of the southern Andes from sea level to 2,000 m (6,600 ft).
The climate of the pudú's habitat is composed of two main seasons: a damp, moderate winter and an arid summer.
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. Each pudú has its own home range, or territory. 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. Pudús do not interact socially, other than to mate. An easily frightened animal, the deer barks when in fear. Its fur bristles and the pudú shivers when angered