It's time to fawn over a new addition to the Detroit Zoo family.
Born Sept. 7, this darling deer weighed only two pounds, according to Zoo staff -- that's small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Meet "Hamil Girl," the fourth Chilean pudu born in the Motor City since the species was introduced to Michigan's biggest zoo in 2008.
Proud parents 5-year-old Carol and 6-year-old T. Roy were coupled at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for pudus, which advocates for diverse and self-sustaining populations of threatened and endangered species. Little Hamil is one of only 28 pudus living in 12 AZA institutions. She was named by a family as an auction prize at the Detroit Zoo's annual Sunset at the Zoo fundraiser.
“This fawn is a significant contribution to a small zoo population of this unique and little-studied Andean deer,” said Detroit Zoological Society Curator of Mammals Robert Lessnau in a press release obtained by The Huffington Post. “She is doing very well and, weather permitting, can been seen daily in the pudu habitat with her parents.”
A Chilean pudu (Pudu puda) is the smallest species of deer on the planet. Even once she grows up, little Hamil Girl will reach a maximum height of 18 inches at the shoulder, and will weigh less than 25 pounds.
Hamil Girl has all the attributes of her species: a short, reddish-brown fur coat, rounded ears, tiny black eyes and short legs that are more "doggie" than "deer." But she won't grow antlers -- that's only for the boys. In her natural habitat, Hamil would be a vegetarian. Her fave foods are leaves, twigs, bark, seeds and fruit.
Found in the temperate rainforests of southern Chile and Argentina, the pudu is a solitary animal that is mostly active during the early morning, late afternoon and evening hours. It feeds on leaves, twigs, bark, buds, fruit and seeds in its natural habitat.
Want to welcome the Motor City's newest pudu? The Detroit Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March. Admission is $14 for adults 15 to 61, $12 for senior citizens 62 and older, and $9 for children 2 to 14 (children under 2 are free). The Detroit Zoo’s annual “merry-not-scary” Zoo Boo celebration will be held on the evenings of October 12-14, October 19-21 and October 26-28, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., rain or shine.