The pudus are two species of South American deer from the genus Pudu, and are the world's smallest deer. The name is a loanword from Mapudungun, the language of the indigenous Mapuche people of central Chile and south-western Argentina. The two species of pudus are the northern pudu (Pudu mephistophiles) from Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, and the southern pudu (Pudu puda; sometimes incorrectly modified to Pudu pudu) from southern Chile and south-western Argentina. Pudus range in size from 32 to 44 centimeters (13 to 17 in) tall, and up to 85 centimeters (33 in) long. The southern pudu is classified as near threatened, while the northern pudu is classified as Data Deficient in the IUCN Red List.
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, Venezuela, 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. Annual precipitation in these areas of Argentina and Chile ranges from 2 to 4 m (6.6 to 13.1 ft).