Pygmy hippos are often mistaken for baby hippos. But it is a different kind of hippopotamus, with a slightly different exterior and different behaviour. Pygmy hippos spend much more time on land.
Compared with ‘big’ hippos, pygmy hippos have longer legs, a smaller head and less prominent eyes, which are located at the side of the head. Their skin is very dark and looks a bit shiny. This is caused by a special kind of sweat that protects the skin from dehydration. In the wild the animals spend much time in mud pools, swamps and in dense forests. The pygmy hippos live in solitaire. Only during mating time the male and female look each other up. Mating occurs on land or in the water and is long and loud. After a pregnancy of 187 to 204 days usually one young is born.
Pygmy hippos are well kept in zoos. The animals breed very well there. It is important that their enclosure not only contains water but also ample ‘dry’ land. The animal’s ration consists of hay, vegetables, lettuce, grass and pellets.