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Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Monday, 5 July 2010 16:10 UK
Tiny new arrival for Paignton Zoo
By Laura Joint
BBC Devon

Malay mouse deer and baby
Eve the lesser Malay mouse deer with the tiny baby

A tiny deer at Paignton Zoo has given birth months after she lay critically ill on the operating table.

The lesser Malay mouse deer named Eve has delighted zoo staff by having a baby after recovering from serious illness.

The new arrival is minute - adults stand just 20-25 centimetres at the shoulder (8-10 inches), and babies weigh just 370 gramns (13 ounces).

"Eve is an amazing animal," said Sarah Hewitt of the Paignton Zoo vet team.

She had a long, complicated illness last year involving a tooth abscess initially then an abscess round her eye which went into the bone.

Eve survived serious illness which required lengthy treatment

"She underwent huge amounts of treatment with many general anaesthetics and came through it all.

"It is fantastic that she has now given birth.

"As vets we are chuffed to bits, as for a while it was touch and go with her."

Although the conservation status of the lesser Malay mouse deer - or chevrotain - is low, the species is threatened by hunting and habitat destruction.

They are the smallest members of the animal family that includes pigs, hippos, camels, deer, antelopes, sheep and goats. Adults are 45-55 centimetres long (18-22 inches) and can live for about 12 years.

Eve was born at Poznan Zoo in Poland on Christmas Eve 2007 and came to Paignton Zoo in 2008. Her partner, Ralf, was born at Newquay Zoo in May 2004 and arrived at Paignton Zoo in March 2005. This is their second youngster.

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