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The Endangered Pygmy Hippopotamus

Home | Melbourne Zoo | The Zoo's Pygmy Hippopotamus

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The little Hippopotamus is native to the forests and swamps of western Africa. It is a large mammal and is quite reclusive and nocturnal.

Melbourne Zoo has one.

His name is Felix, he is a male Pygmy Hippo and he has arrived from Queensland.

  • View the pygmy hippopotamus at the Melbourne Zoo between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm every day of the year.
  • View this little creature through the clear viewing panels and if you are lucky you may experience something really special.

If you want to check any other details then phone (03)9285 9300 during business hours.

For more thrilling encounters of the Hippo kind you can visit the Kubu River Hippos at the Open Range Werribee Zoo just on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Allow a good 3 hours to visit the exhibits and really experience what the zoo has to offer.

Check with the Melbourne Zoo to find out when you are able to enjoy the company of the pygmy hippopotamus Felix.

Pygmy Hippopotamus at the Melbourne Zoo compliments of  Pygmy Hippopotamus at the Melbourne Zoo compliments of

View this little creature through the clear viewing panels and if you are lucky you may experience something really special.

Facts About The Pygmy Hippopotamus

  • To keep their skin moisturized and their body temperature cool, the pygmy hippopotamus spends most of its time submerged in water, thus giving rise to the name river hippopotamus
  • They feed on ferns, broad leaved plants, grasses and fruits found in the forests
  • There are major concerns that the pygmy hippopotamus is headed for extinction as there are less than 3000 living in the wild.Zoos however have managed to be able to breed them which is a such a help in the preservation of the species
  • Land reclamation, deforestation and the progress on civilization encroaching into their natural habitat are the major reasons for the decline in numbers along with poaching, hunting,natural predators and waring communities.
  • The male pygmy hippo is known as a bull, the female as a cow and the baby hippo as a calf
Pygmy Hippopotamus Pair At The Mount Kenya Wildlife ConservancyPygmy Hippopotamus Pair At The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy
  • Research over the past years has identified that the species are related to Whales and Dolphins having an ancestor way back that was semi-aquatic
  • The animal has short stubby legs with 4 toes on each foot, their bodies are quite rotund and chunky. Being 1/4 of the weight of their cousin the hippopotamus they are also only 1/2 as tall
  • In captivity they are known to live from between 30 to 55 years.
  • The pygmy hippo has unusual sweat giving it a pink tinge; almost like watered down blood. This, however is actually an antiseptic fluid that also acts a s a sunscreen.The hippo's skin tends to dry out quickly and crack
  • Their strong muscular ears and nostrils close over to avoid water getting in when they are submerged under water.
Pygmy Hippopotamus submergedPygmy Hippo Submerged
  • They live either alone or in very small groups
  • Rather than fight, the pygmy hippo will ignore the other animal
  • They will usually rest a few days before moving on to other areas to forage for food
  • They feed at dusk and forage for around 6 hours
  • The Gestation period usually ranges from 190-210 days and 1 calf is usually born though twin births have been recorded
  • Both mating and birthing can take place in and out of water, the common hippo only mating and birthing in water.The baby hippo can swim almost immediately
  • The baby hippo calf is weaned between 6 and 8 months of age prior to weaning will hide submerged while its mother forages for food
  • Just like a pig the baby hippo calf suckles with its mother lying on her side

The Pygmy Hippopotamus Bookstore
Just Click On The Title Of The Book For More Information

The Hippos Book from Fishpond

The Hippos

This is the first full account of the common hippopotamus, found in East and South Africa, and the pygmy hippopotamus, inhabiting the forests of West Africa... 

A major contribution to mammalian and African wildlife literature, one which every mammalian and wildlife conservation collection should have. 

Narrated by screen legend Paul Newman and in collaboration with the celebrated BBC Natural History Unit, this ground breaking cinematic experience takes you to the heart of Africa, deep in the Kalahari Desert, to the secretive home of the fascinating Meerkat.

Book - What on Earth, Wetlands

Life In the Wetlands (What on Earth S.)

The title offers an in-depth exploration of the natural world stressing environmental issues.

Each spread is headed with a question which is answered in the main text.

Each spread has a fact box, which highlights key concepts relating to the main theme.

Full-colour illustrations and photographs bring the subject to life. It also contains an 'Amazing Facts' section

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