The tiny mouse deer born at Bristol Zoo which is as short as a pencil

The zoo says his birth will help sustain the deer mouse population whose numbers in the wild are in "sharp decline". Credit: Bristol Zoo

A tiny mouse deer standing at just 20cm tall - the height of a pencil - has been born at Bristol Zoo.

The mouse, who keepers have named Otis, is only the third Malayan mouse deer to be born at Bristol Zoo Gardens in the past decade.

The fawn was born to its mum and dad - Brienne and Jorah - four weeks ago and the zoo has now released adorable pictures of the family.

Otis with his mother, Brienne. Credit: Bristol Zoo

The zoo says his birth is very important because it helps to sustain the captive population of mouse deer whose numbers in the wild are in "sharp decline".

Al Toyne, Team Leader of Small Mammals at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “For the first few weeks his mother kept him hidden and he remained quite stationary in the undergrowth. 

“But now he is moving around a lot on his own. He is quite active and confident and has started eating solids.

“This does represent a great success and because his mother has had just two infants she is very important for the conservation breeding programme as her genes are rare."

Mouse deer are native to South East Asia. When fully grown the infant will weigh about 3lb (1.5kg).

Visitors to Bristol Zoo Gardens can see Otis living in the fruit bats’ enclosure.

Al said: “If people just stand quietly and watch patiently for a few minutes there is a very good chance of seeing Otis."