Pigmy Hippopotamus

 

Scientific name

Hexaorotodon liberiensis

Global distribution

Discontinuous range in the lowland forest zone from Sierra Leone to Nigeria

Habitat

Lowland forest

Conservation status

Vulnerable and on appendix 2 CITES

Only a few thousand individuals remain.

Physical characteristics

Body size

male

Head and body length 1,500 – 1,750 mm

Shoulder height 700 – 1,000 mm

Weight

160-270 kg

Colouring

Above is a slaty greenish black, the sides are more grey and the under parts are grayish white to yellowish green.

Hair

The  body is without hair, except for a few bristles on the lips and tail

Piglet colouring

As parent

Tail

Tail length 200 mm

Mother and baby side view

 

Side views of a year old, note all clearly demarcated toes.  

Rear view

 

Toes details

View on the dorsal surface – emerged

Detail of the head

Male rear

Base of the feet (hind)

Anatomical points

Peculiarities

The head is rounder than Hippopotamus

Nostrils are carried on top of the snout.  Almost circular

Eyes are set on the side and do not protrude

Skin contains special glands that secrete a pinkish substance known as “blood sweat”

Skin contains a large amount of fat.

The foot bones are separate and all toes support weight.  The terminal digital bones have nail-like hooves.  The feet are webbed (interdigital membranes) on all 4 toes

Stomach is complex with three chambers, but it is none ruminating.

Glands

Skin glands producing ‘blood sweat’

Dental formulae

(I 2-3/1, c1/1, pm 4/4 m 3/3) x 2 = 38-40

 

 

Behaviour points

Maturing age

4-5 years

Mating ritual

 

Seasonal breeding

Not seasonal breeders

Oestrus period

28 days lasting 2-3 days

Gestation period

184-204 days

Litter size and lactation

One

Birth weight

3.4 – 6.4 kg

Weaning age

6 to 8 months

Family groups

Generally solitary with overlapping ranges.

Peak activity

Most active in large afternoon and night

May occupy hollows and caves

Range

Females may range over 40-60 ha.

Males may occupy 165 ha.

Diet

Water plants, grasses, tender shoots, leaves and fallen fruits.

Diseases/

disorders

 

Age

Over 40 years of age