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Pygmy Hippopotamuses are strictly herbivorous. They feed on a wide variety of plant foods including herbs, broad-leaved plants, grasses, semi-aquatic plants, herbaceous shoots, forbs, sedges, ferns, and fallen fruit.
The Pygmy Hippopotamus is generally solitary, scent marking with feces to alert intruders to its presence. Mothers leave their newborn calves alone while searching for food, returning about three times a day for suckling. Calves are ready to forage with their mother at about three months of age.
IUCN Status: ENDANGERED
Pygmy Hippopotamuses range in weight from 160 to 275 kg (352-605 lbs.). Their skin color is dark brown on top, fading to a lighter color underneath. Large glands in the skin produce a glossy, brownish-red secretion that is referred to as “blood sweat,” which protects their sensitive skin from sun.
Current populations of the Pygmy Hippoptamus are limited to just four West African countries: Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The majority of the total estimated population of 2,000 to 3,000 is concentrated in Liberia in patches of lowland forest near sources of water.
Threats to the Pygmy Hippopotamus include deforestation, hunting, agricultural land development, and civil conflicts. Although Pygmy Hippos are legally protected in most of the regions where they are found, there are few resources to enforce their protection and numbers in the wild continue to decrease.
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