The Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) is a small hippopotamid. It is a semi-aquatic mammal. It is closely related to the whale and the dolphin.
The Pygmy Hippopotamus has a brownish-grey to pinkish barrel-shaped body with short legs. Its skin is virtually hairless, but it does have some bristles. It has four toes on each foot. It has ivory teeth. It has small ears, small dark eyes, and large nostrils. It has a short tail with a tuft of hair at the end.
It is half the size of the Common Hippopotamus. It measures about 75-100 centimetres (29-39 inches) tall and 150-175 centimetres (59-69 inches) in length.
The Pygmy Hippopotamus is native to west Africa, mainly in Liberia, with some in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast. It prefers dense forests and swamps.
It is semi-aquatic, which means that it lives in freshwater and on the land. It needs water to keep its skin moist.
It is nocturnal, active at night.
The Pygmy Hippopotamus is herbivorous, eating plants, grasses, ferns and fruit. It emerges from the water to feed on grass at dusk.
A male is called a bull, a female is called a cow, and a baby is called a calf. It is often seen in groups, called a bloat or a herd. Many of them are called hippopotami (most often used term) or hippopotamuses (less often used term).
The female Pygmy Hippopotamus is pregnant for 190-210 days, before giving birth to one live young. Young hippos can swim almost immediately.
Its lifespan ranges from 30 to 55 years.
[Location of photographs: London Zoo, England and Berlin Zoo, Germany]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM