California zoo celebrates birth of baby pudu, world’s smallest species of deer

It’s always exciting when a new baby animal is born. Who can resist the cuteness of a tiny newborn?

Now, one new arrival is really warming hearts: a baby pudu, the world’s smallest species of deer, was born this month at a California zoo.


Southern pudus, native to southern Chile and southwestern Argentina, grow to between 24 and 29 inches tall, according to the zoo, with short, thick legs.

The newborn’s parents arrived at the Oakland Zoo last year, and “became fast friends.”

The mother pudu, named Riley, became pregnant after her injectable birth control wore off, and she gave birth on August 7.

“We weren’t totally surprised. We had a feeling that it might be coming,” lead keeper Andrea Dougall told Reuters, saying that the deer showed signs of pregnancy.


The newborn is a male, though he hasn’t yet been named, and has reportedly been doing well since birth.

Some lucky zoo visitors got to see the rare birth in person. “We had guests who were watching when it happened,” Andrea said, explaining that the pudus were “comfortable being out in the open,” surprising for a small deer species.

While not endangered, the Southern pudu is considered a vulnerable species, due to habitat loss, which makes the new arrival especially good news.

And Andrea said that the deer have been a welcome presence at the zoo, a remarkable species that enchants visitors and zoo staff.

“I think they’re just adorable,” she told Reuters. “I think they’ve got wonderful little faces, great little personalities. They’re just inquisitive… I love them.”

What an adorable little deer. Welcome to the world! ❤️ Share this sweet news!