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Zoo location: 
Scientific Name: 
Choeropsis liberiensis
Species class: 
Population Trend: 
Quick Facts

Life Span: 30-42 years

Size: 1.4m-1.8m

Weight: 245-275kgs

Fun Facts

Origin of Name and Closest Relatives: The name hippopotamus comes from the Greek word meaning ‘river horse’, although hippos are not related to horses. Hippos are actually related to Cetaceans i.e. whales, dolphins and porpoises

“Blood Sweat”: Pygmy Hippos secrete a colourless fluid that turns red within a few minutes and then brown.  This fluid is commonly known as ‘blood sweat’. It is neither blood nor sweat and serves a very important purpose. It works as a natural sunscreen, moisturiser and antiseptic. When rubbed the secretion takes on a white foamy appearance. The skin of the Common hippo has been studied in more detail than that of the Pygmy hippo.

Territories: Pygmy hippopotamuses are not considered territorial. Instead, a male wanders over a home range that overlaps with other male home ranges and includes a number of female ranges in its borders.

When moving through their home range, pygmy hippopotamuses follow hippo ‘roads’ that have been cleared by other hippos. These paths are marked with feaces, which is spread by their tail swishing from side to side as they defecate

Swimming: Pygmy hippos can close their ears and nostrils when submerged.

The Pygmy Hippopotamus, or Pygmy Hippo, was discovered only recently - in the mid 1800s. A shy and solitary animal, it lives in swamps and forests. It is smaller than the Common Hippo but not an exact copy. For its size the Pygmy Hippo has longer legs, a smaller head and narrower mouth. Hiding in dense forests it eats leaves, herbs, fallen fruits and grasses. To reach higher branches it stands on its hind legs and leans on the tree with its front legs.

At Taronga:

At Taronga Zoo we currently have two Pygmy Hippos, a male named Fergus and a female named Kambiri  (DOB: 26 June 2010).


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