Pittsburgh Zoo Pygmy Hippo

Pygmy Hippo [Choeropsis liberiensis]

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Quick Facts

  • Size: Typically grows to be 5 feet tall and up to 350 pounds
  • Lifespan: 30 to 50 years
  • Color: Blend of light and dark gray
  • Range: West Africa
  • Habitat: Pygmy hippos prefer to spend their time in swamps and rivers found in the Tropical Rain Forest.

Pygmy hippos have a natural sunscreen to protect their thin skin which sun burns easily. They secrete a pinkish liquid that acts as a natural sunscreen to protect the skin.

Despite efforts to learn more, this little hippo has managed to remain elusive in the natural environment. Most of what has been learned about the hippo is from zoos.

Pygmy hippops are herbivores. Their diet consists of leafy greens, grasses, leaves, shoots, and fallen fruits.

Gestation is six to seven months. A single calf is born at a birth weight of 14 lbs. Mothers give birth in a den or in dense vegetation. At five months old, the calf weighs ten times its birth weight.

Pygmy hippos are endangered with less than 3,000 left in the wild. Biggest threat is loss of natural habitat.
  • Location in the Zoo: Jungle Odyssey
  • Schedule: On exhibit from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day