Please take a moment out of your day to appreciate the happiest little deer that has ever deer’d on this planet or any other: The pudú. Lettuce leaf for scale.
So let’s talk pudú.
Just really, really LOOK at this happy baby pudú. He (Or she! We aren’t sure) is the happiest and he is the babiest. His face is the embodiment of the smiley emoji. The pudú is the world’s smallest deer species, growing to be 13 to 33 inches tall on average. For some perspective, 13 inches is:
- Two-fifths of Verne Troyer
- Three-tenths the height of Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2
- One-fourth of Gary Coleman
- One-fifth of Danny DeVito and Napoleon
- One-tenth of Shaq and André the Giant
More facts about pudús: Since 2009 they’ve been considered a threatened species. They live on the slopes of the Andes Mountain Range; how do their littlest legs do it? They are also known as the “Chilean mountain goat,” so I guess they’re pretty good on their impossibly tiny feet. The northern pudús are found living 2,000 to 4,000 feet above sea level, which seems so high for such a small thing. Please be careful, pudús.
More about Little Deer Bae: More than 100 southern pudús are kept at ISIS-registered institutions, which is a very unfortunate acronym for International Species Information System that includes zoos in the U.S. and Europe.
They don’t interact socially, other than to mate. Kind of like that one person in your friend-group, but much cuter about it. Not a lot is known about what they do socially, because they’re so damn secretive about it. A single pudú’s territory “is marked with sizable dung piles found on paths and near eating and resting areas,” making them even more amazing and weird, oh my gosh. Check out this scientific description of their mating habits:
Southern pudús have a polygynous mating system. In wild populations, southern pudús form pair bonds in the fall and mate. The male is attracted to a female in estrus and will approach the female in a low, slow crouch. After the male judges the female’s responsiveness by sniffing and licking, they proceed to engage in butting the groin or sides, followed by grooming. For a three-day period, the male mounts the doe repeatedly and intercourse occurs for two to three seconds each time.
I think the kids are calling that “cuffing” nowadays.