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Pygmy Hippopotamus Facts

Guest Author - Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu

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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Content copyright © 2014 by Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Dawn Denton for details.

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