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Pygmy Hippopotamus Facts

Name: Pygmy Hippopotamus

Pygmy Hippopotamus
Pygmy Hippopotamus
Scientific Name: Hexaprotodon liberiensis

Height: 2 1/2 feet tall

Average Adult Weight: 350 to 550 pounds

Life Span: 30 to 50 years.

Description: Pygmy hippos have smooth, hairless skin that is black-brown to purple. Their cheeks are usually tinted pink. They secrete mucous which keeps their skin moist and shiny. A pygmy hippo's body is barrel-shaped and supported by relatively long legs. Its four-toed feet have almost no webbing. Their head is round and narrower than the river hippopotamus and its eyes placed to the side. Their short tail has a tassel of yellow wirey hair.

Habitat: Pygmy hippos live in dense, swampy forests near rivers, streams and creeks.

Countries found in: Pygmy hippos live mainly in Liberia with some living in the bordering countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast.

Babies: Gestation is about six to seven months where one baby is born. Birth may happen on land or in water. A baby pygmy hippo weighs around 14 pounds.

Food: Pygmy hippos are herbivores and feed on various vegetation, including succulents, tender shoots, leaves, roots, grasses, fallen fruit, and aquatic plants.

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Habits: Pygmy hipppos prefer to sleep in places are usually moist or wet terrain. Pygmy hippos find food on higher, drier ground. Pygmy hippos are nocturnal and are most active between 6 pm and midnight.

Conservation Status: Critically Threatened. Recent estimates are less than 3,000 pymgy hippo left in the wild.

Predators: Their primary threat is loss of habitat. They have been hunted for their teeth and for food. Leopards are also a threat.

Interesting Facts: In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge was given a male pygmy hippo named Billy by Harvey Firestone. Harvey Firestone owned a rubber plantation in Liberia. Most of the pygmy hippos in American zoo are related to Billy.

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