Pygmy hippopotamus

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Pygmy hippopotamus
A pygmy hippopotamus at National Zoo.
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Hippopotamidae
Genus: Choeropsis
Binomial name
Choeropsis liberiensis
(Morton, 1849
Pygmy hippopotamus distribution

The pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) is a large mammal native to the forests and swamps of West Africa. The specific name liberiensis means "of Liberia", as this is where most live. The pygmy hippo is reclusive and nocturnal. It is one of only two living species in the Hippopotamidae family, the other being its much larger cousin the common hippopotamus.

The pygmy hippopotamus has many terrestrial adaptations, but like its larger cousin, it is semi-aquatic. It relies on proximity to water to keep its skin moisturized and its body temperature cool. Behaviors such as mating and giving birth may occur in water or on land. The pygmy hippo is herbivorous, feeding on ferns, broad-leaved plants, grasses and fruits it finds in the forests.