Pygmy Hippo

Pygmy Hippo

Hexaprotodon liberiensis

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Quick Facts

Height:
30" to 40"
Weight:
330 to 600 lbs
Body Length:
Body length: 5' to 5.75'; tail length: 6"
Distribution:
West Africa: Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone
Habitat:
Dense, swampy forests near rivers and bodies of fresh water
Wild Diet:
Tender shoots, leaves, roots and fallen fruit
Zoo Diet:
Alfalfa, grain pellets, fruits, vegetables, leafy produce and browse

Pygmy hippos are much smaller than their relatives the Nile hippo. Have you ever seen these hippos glisten in the sun? That's because they secrete a whitish fluid that helps protect them from the sun and moisten their skin. Unfortunately the pygmy hippo population is declining due to human activity. There are only about 2,000 or fewer left in the wild.

Description

Pygmy hippopotamuses are colored black-brown to purple, with creamy gray on the undersides and sometimes pink splotches/patches. Their cheeks have a pink tint to them. They are hairless except for areas around the lips and tail. They have a barrel-shaped body with proportionately longer legs and necks in relation to their body size than the larger common hippopotamus. They have four toes on each foot. Their toes are separated and have nails. They have only a single pair of incisors and very sharp, self-honing canine teeth.

Status in the Wild

Major threats to pygmy hippos include logging, farming, and human settlement. They are occasionally hunted for meat. The population trend is decreasing in the wild. The wild population is currently thought to be between 2,000 and 3,000 individuals.

Conservation Programs
  • Listed as "endangered" on the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources).
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