For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pygmy Hippopotamus - Hexaprotodon liberiensis

 Pygmy Hippopotamus - Hexaprotodon liberiensis are about the same size as a sheep or Alsation and belongs to order of Artiodactyla. It lives in rivers and swamps in dense forests in western Africa (Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and possibly Nigeria and Guinea). This kind of hippopotamus is considered to be critically endangered.  
 The body of hippopotamus is barrel-shaped and it is supported by proportionally long legs. Its average length is from 142 to 175 centimetres, at shoulders 75 to 100 and the length of tail is 15 to 28 centimetres. The weight of an adult is between 160 and 272 kg. The head is round and narrower, with the eyes placed more to the sides. Its skin is smooth, hairless, with a secretion of mucous that keeps it moist and shiny. Its colour goes from black-brown to purple. A wiry tassel of hair at the end of its stubby tail is yellow.

Pygmy hippos live separately, female accept male presence only in heat. The gestation period with females takes from 184 to 204 days, and it gives birth to one, rarely to two young on land or in shallow water. They are weaned after 6 – 8 months and reach sexual maternity in fourth or fifth year. Pygmy hippopotamus lives up to 42 years.

Both sexes have home ranges and there are numerous resting places throughout their territories, which they use exclusively when sleeping. They are found in moist to wet terrain.

They seek for their food on higher drier ground, and are most active between 6 pm and midnight. Their diet consists of water plants, grasses, fallen fruit and leaves.
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