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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Feb. 29, 2024

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Seattle zoo welcomes tiny pudu deer


SEATTLE — She’s tiny. She’s adorable. She’s from a galaxy far, far away.

Woodland Park Zoo’s new pudu fawn, which animal keepers have taken to calling Leia, was born on May the 4th. The world’s smallest deer species’ newest member may not be called Leia forever, because her official name has not been decided yet.

Born to the zoo’s pudu residents Ted and Maggie, the baby weighed less than 2 pounds at birth, animal keeper Megan Blandford said.

A month later, she’s grown about three times her birth weight, and the white spots she was born with are starting to fade. These deer only grow to about 20 pounds, Blandford said, or the size of a small dachshund.

They are native to temperate rainforests in South America, making Seattle’s consistently wet and mild habitat remarkably similar to their native land.

“That’s probably one of the reasons why we produce lots of little pudu babies,” Blandford said. “Really, all of the credit should go to Ted and Maggie. Maggie especially.”

Ted munched leaves off some tree branches on Tuesday, to the delight of passersby. Leia, a shy creature, slept tucked away at the back of the exhibit.

She’s not always so bashful. Blandford said Leia will often get the “zoomies” and dash around her habitat.

The browsers munch on fruits and veggies, like woody plants and soft shoots. Their favorite treat, Blandford said, is a banana peel.