The South Andean Deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus) is a species of endangered deer native to the Andes mountain range in Argentina and Chile. Sometimes referred to as the Chilean Huemul or Southern Guemal, this elegant deer ranges across the alpine mountainsides of the Andes mountains, and sometimes can be found in the cool mountain valleys as well.
On this page we’ll share facts and information about the South Andean Deer, including a description of how it looks, behaves, reproduces, and where it lives.
How Big is the South Andean Deer?
- Head & Body Length – 140 to 160 cm
- Shoulder Height – 75 to 85 cm
- Tail Length – 10 to 15 cm
- Weight – 45 to 65 kg
What Does the South Andean Deer Look Like?
The South Andean Deer is also known as the Chilean Guemel and as the Chilean Huemel. It is similar in appearance and behavior to the North Andean Deer, to which it is closely related.
Hippocamelus bisulcus is a small species of deer, with short legs and a thin slender build. The coat is made up of thick, course hairs that make the deer look particularly rough.
In color the pelage is a grey-brown. The tail is short with a white underside, and the under parts are paler in color, and there are often white markings around the throat.
The ears are large and rounded with white fur inside. The antlers branch from a small stem, and have a number of tines. This is the main difference between this species and the North Andean Deer, as in that species the antlers branch much closer to the head and have fewer tines.
The South Andean Deer is also slightly darker in color than its northern counterpart.
Where Does Hippocamelus Bisulcus Live?
Now let’s look at the range and habitat of the South Andean Deer.
Where in the World
Hippocamelus bisulcus historically ranged over most of the southwest of the continent of South America. Its range covered the Andes mountain range in Chile and parts of the Pampas in southwestern Argentina.
Unfortunately due to over-hunting and habitat loss, this species of deer’s numbers have fallen dramatically. Today you won’t find this deer outside of protected areas.
Only about 2,000 animals remain.
The natural habitat of the South Andean Deer is the high mountainsides of the Andes, where it lives above the tree line and as high as the snow line.
Hippocamelus bisulcus also inhabits cold treeless plains on the southern tip of the continent.
Reproduction in the Chilean Huemul
Little is known about the reproductive behavior and mating habits of this deer species.
The rut takes place in the late autumn months, and after a gestation period of about 230 to 240 days a single fawn is typically born.
Diet & Behavior of This Deer Species
South Andean Deer live in small groups of 2 to 3 animals. These groups are made up of a female and her young. Many animals live solitary lives.
Hippocamelus bisulcus feeds on a variety of grasses and herbaceous plants found within the mountainous and grassland habitats in which it lives.