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Daily Zoo Animal #24, Pygmy Hippopotamus


Pygmy Hippopotamus Hexaprotodon liberiensis

The pygmy hippopotamus is about a fifth of the mass of its huge cousin, the Nile hippo. A pygmy hippo is about the size of a small pig, on the average about 500 pounds. Pygmy hippos spend far less time in the water compared to Nile hippos, instead deftly and quietly moving through dense rainforests, feeding on fallen fruit and other vegetation. Also unlike Niles, pygmy hippos are solitary, coming together only to mate. They leave messages for one another by defecating and rapidly wagging their tails to disperse the fecal matter. Pygmy hippos are found in a relatively small range of jungle habitat in western Africa, the largest amount concentrated in Liberia. They are preyed upon by leopards and humans.

This is Cleopatra, a fifteen year old pygmy hippo who comes from the Toronto zoo. She is on loan to Zoo New England, and is on exhibit in the Tropical Forest building.

These pictures were sent from Toronto, to show the sand substrate of her enclosure there. I dare say, I can recognize her personality from these pictures.

On this day in 365 Urban Species: Greenhouse slug.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 16th, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
She's pretty cute-- although I think hippos always look pretty cute-- but I've read that they're very nasty. In that middle picture it looks like she's saying, 'Get out of my way or I'll run you over,' or something else cranky.
Nov. 16th, 2007 01:55 am (UTC)
That last picture makes her look as frightening as a regular hippo, frankly. Yikes. Still, though, pretty cute.

Man, you can see the drool dripping off those FANGS OF DEATH in the last picture. :)
Nov. 17th, 2007 05:14 am (UTC)
It's hard to see them as fangs of death when you watch them eating brussels sprouts and spinach.
Nov. 16th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
she's a cutey
Nov. 16th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)
She's lovely! I think she's prettier than the average pygmy hippo.
Nov. 16th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
She's a bit prettier than the old pygmy hippo, Camille, who was there. Camille was awesome, but not at all delicate and feminine like this one!
Nov. 16th, 2007 08:47 am (UTC)
She's so round! And there's something almost beetle-like about the shine on her skin. So pretty.
Nov. 16th, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC)
i have been to the zoo in Toronto many times and I have NEVER seen her out of the water!!

Thanks for these! (I saw the back end of a bunch of big hippos in Tanzania long time ago, they really don't like people much! and it's best not to get in the water with them! If they can't get away they will attack you. They are super fast in the water.)
Nov. 16th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
Aw, I need to go meet her! Too bad you never knew Camille- she was a hoot! And how fun is it to clean up their 'communications'? ;P
Nov. 17th, 2007 05:13 am (UTC)
We've seen pygmy hippos up relatively close - nasty-tempered little beasts, and ungrateful, too - the regular hippos are far more cheerful.

I will admit to what, as an official zookeeper, you must object to: I bring food to the zoo. High-grade organic alfalfa pellets (rabbit food without additives and crap). Which, as far as I can tell, are better quality than the pellets sold in some machines at some zoos. And which the hippos love. Also rhinos. Also ostriches, camels, giraffes, zebras, okapi, and assorted interchangeable hoof-n-horns (if you expect me to tell all those wildebeest and antelopes apart, you got another think comin'). Also all the pigeons who hang out in general, and quite a few of the ducks and geese. And a lot of the fish in the ponds around the hippo enclosures, too. And a few coatimundi. Good quality rabbit pellets are $8 for as large a bag as I care to carry around, instead of $1 in quarters for a couple of teaspoons. So there. That's my big sin. I am really pretty sure that I have not fed pellets to any animal they would harm. I have managed to keep them away from lemurs, not because I think that one or two alfalfa pellets would hurt lemurs but because I'm pretty sure it would be difficult to stop them at one or two.
Nov. 17th, 2007 07:51 am (UTC)
Snake pix
You might be interested in the photos at:

She's a teacher in Ca. and got pictures of a big snake that was wriggling along some electric wires behind her school. Nothing bad seems to have happened to the snake.
Nov. 22nd, 2007 10:58 am (UTC)
I love the pygmys, so cute!!!! :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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