Pygmy Hippopotamus

AnimalPygmy hippopotamus
Scientific NameHexaprotodon liberiensis
Lifespan55 years
Size1.4 – 1.6 m in length
Weight245 – 275 kilograms
Conservation statusLeast concern > Near threatened >
Vulnerable > Endangered >
Critically endangered > Extinct in the wild >

Pygmy hippopotamuses are a dwarf version of the common hippo and can be found in West Africa’s swamps and forests. Unlike the common hippo, the pygmy hippo doesn’t spend most of the day in the water and are not territorial. Not much is known about this hippo species.

Predators & Diet

Just like the common hippo, pygmy hippos set out at sunset to scavenge the forest’s floors for food. Majority of the diet consists of plants, fruits, ferns, and shrubs. They spend six hours a day searching.

Leopards are the only main predator of pygmy hippos, but calves can be preyed on by crocodiles and pythons.


Pygmy hippo breeding happens on either land or water. One calf is born after a one-hundred-eighty to two-hundred-ten day gestation period, almost two thirds of a year. The mother hides the calf for a couple of weeks to guard it against predators and sunlight.

Pygmy Hippo Vs Common Hippo

At first glance, a pygmy hippo just seems like a tinier version of the well-known river hippo, also known as a common hippo. But there are many differences. As mentioned earlier, pygmy hippos’ habitat is either a forest or swamp, while the common hippos is a body of water. Common hippos are also much more territorial.

There are many differences in appearance, too. Pygmy hippos have more rounded heads and bodies. Common hippos have ears that protrude. Pygmy hippos only have their front toes webbed. They both measure and weigh differently, the common hippo weighing and measuring more.


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