The ‘Kudu’ and the ‘Pudu’- What is the Difference?

by, Jo Carol Hebert

The Kudu is big and beautiful, second in size only to the similar-looking Eland antelope. The Pudu is little and adorable. This is the smallest deer in the world!

The Kudu lives on the continent of Africa. The Pudu lives on the continent of South America. Kudus have long, spiraled horns that classify them in the Bovid family. The Pudu has tiny antler spikes that shed each year, which gives them a place in the Cervidae family.

What is the Same?

The Kudu and the Pudu are:

  • mammals who give birth and nurse their young (get milk from mother)
  • ungulates  that have hooves
  • herbivores that eat plants
  • browsers that eat from trees, shrubs, and bushes; (grazers nibble grass)
  • ruminants that regurgitate (vomit) the food up and chew on the cud (plant wad)
  • prey animals to carnivores
  • agile, alert, high jumpers and fast runners

The Greater and Lesser Kudu

Yes.  There is a Greater Kudu and a Lesser Kudu. Which one do you think is bigger? Both have those vertical spiraling horns. The horns of the Greater Kudu can grow to almost 6 feet with 2-½ spirals. This larger Kudu spans almost 100 inches in length, while the Lesser is under 70 inches long. Also, the Greater has an impressive beard or neck fringe, but, alas, the Lesser does not. 

Not to worry, the smaller size of the little Kudu enables him to jump up to 8 feet to clear fences with predators in pursuit- a definite advantage. And – the little guy has more thin white vertical stripes on the torso – up to 14, while the Greater has only 6-10.

Kudus prefer the camouflage of safe woodlands rather than open plains where they are hunted by lions, hyenas, and wild dogs. They vocalize low grunts, clicks, humming, and gasping sounds to communicate. They run in a ‘rocking horse’ gait. The smaller version of Kudu lives in Eastern Africa. The larger Kudu lives in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Kudus are listed as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Animals, due to protected habitats, although the increasing loss of wild habitat is a serious threat to their future existence.

The Southern and the Northern Pudu

Yes. There is a Southern and a Northern Pudu. 

The Northern prefers the rainforests of the Andes mountains in the countries of Ecuador, Columbia and Peru. These shy and fragile creatures are the size of a small dog, weighing only up to thirteen pounds. Their cousin, the Southern Pudu, is slightly larger and lives down the South American Pacific coast in Chili and Argentina.

All Pudus have spiked antlers that do not branch. They have a silent, solitary, and nervous existence creating and maintaining trails in the dense underbrush of the jungle. These networks of travel routes are beneficial to other small ground creatures who spend their lives hiding from predators.

Pudus can jump, climb and sprint if necessary to escape the cougars, owls, eagles, and wild dogs that prey upon them. Their fawns are precocial (born with their eyes open and can stand immediately) to begin a life of survival. One interesting habit of the Pudu is that they form dung (poop) piles near their resting places to mark their territory.

The wild population of Pudus of 10,000 is decreasing, and Near Threatened (NT). Factors of concern are the introduction of the Red Deer that competes for food; loss of habitat due to logging, cattle ranching; and plantations. Unfortunately, these little deer are highly susceptible to disease.

Watch for the next Horns and Antlers post: Dik-diks and Klipspringers;

Categories: Horns & Antlers

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