PYGMY HIPPOPOTAMUS FACTS
Genus/species: Hexaprotodon liberiensis
Pygmy hippopotamuses are members of the family Hippopotamidae, along with the larger Nile hippopotamuses. Their next closest living relatives are pigs and peccaries.
Lifestyle: Most of the day is spent resting in ponds, swamps and rivers, soaking in water in order to keep their skin healthy, but at night thepygmy hippopotamus emerges and wanders along channels in swamps and into forests, feeding on lush waterside vegetation. Read more on pygmy hippopotamus lifestyle and behavior here.
Life Span: Their potential life span is believed to be between 30 and 50 years.
Habitat: The pygmy hippopotamus is found in West Africa. Read more on hippo habitat.
Baby Hippopotamus: Female hippos usually breed once every two years. The young are born on land or in shallow water, and nurse 2-3 times in a 24 hour period. The baby weighs 14 pounds (4.5 to 6.4 kg). After birth, the young lie concealed for more than three weeks. Read more about the hippototamus baby & reproduction.
In the wild, the pygmy hippopotamus is rare. It seems there were few of them in existence at any one time. Read more about hippos diet in the wild. There are probably no more than a few thousand Pygmy hippopotamuses remaining. They are extremely rare in the wild. Read more about the survival of the hippopotamus.
Zoo Facts: In 1927 Harvey Firestone (who owned a large rubber plantation in Liberia) gave President Calvin Coolidge a male pygmy hippo named Billy as a gift. Billy is the ancestor to almost all pygmy hippos living in American zoos. Read more about the hippopotamus zoo life.
Characteristics: They stand about two and a half feet (0.8 m) tall at the shoulder, and measure about five feet (1.5 m) from head to tail, weigh 350 to 550 pounds (158.8 to 249.5 kg). They are more pig-like in shape than Nile hippopotamuses, with proportionately smaller heads and proportionately longer legs and necks. Their tail hairs are branched. Read more about the hippo physical characteristics.
Main Predators: Leopard and humans.