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Quick Facts
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Genus: Babirousa
Species: babyrussa

Height: 24 - 30 inches
Length: 33 - 42 inches
Weight: 95 - 220 lbs
Gestation: 127 - 157 days
Offspring: 1 - 3
Life Span: 24 years

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Babirusa

Babirousa babyrussa

Also Called: pig-deer


The babirusa is a creature that looks a lot like a pig, but some scientists think it may actually be related to the hippopotamus. Its most noticable feature is its hooked tusks, which are overgrown canine teeth, and really function more like the antlers on a deer, but they are brittle and can break off easily. It is these tusks that give the babirusa its name, which means "pig-deer". The skin or hide of the babirusa is mostly hairless and can range in color from brown to gray, with lighter shades on its undersides and belly. With this coloration it's easy for the babirusa to blend into the forest's underbrush. What few hairs it has on its hide are yellowish, white, or gray in color. The babirusa's body is roundish and sort of torpedo-shaped, and its legs are long and thin. Its tail is thin and about a foot long. The upper tusks or canines in the males, or boars, stick out through the upper part of the snout and curve upwards and back towards the head. The lower tusks stick out of the lower jaw and grow up and back as well, but not to the degree that the upper tusks do. Both sets of tusks give the male babirusa a very odd and threatening appearance. They will sharpen the lower tusks by rubbing them on trees. The tusks of the females, or sows, are not as long or as large.


Babirusa are omnivoresWhat does omnivores mean?, which means they eat mostly fruit, leaves, or grasses, but will also eat fungi, nuts, insect larvae, or sometimes even small animals (like rodents or small birds) or more rarely carrionWhat does carrion mean? (meat of dead animals).


The bairusa can be found in the tropical forests and canebreaks and on the shores of the rivers and lakes of Indonesia. However it is a nearly endangered species.


The babirusa doesn't have many enemies, other than wild dogs and humans. Unfortunately they are hunted by man for their meat, in spite of the fact that they are a protected species. Due to that fact and the increased loss of places for them to live, there are only a few thousand babirusa left in the wild.


Because it's a shy and reclusive species, there isn't a lot known about the babirusa. During the day they will wallow in mud, which helps to rid them of insects and parasitesWhat does parasites mean? on their hides. They also like to swim, and are very good at it. At night they forageWhat does forage mean? for food and graze on grasses. They usually live together in small groups of several adult females and their young, although sometimes the group may have as many as 15 in it. Males usually live on their own once they are mature.


Unlike other pig species, the babirusa has only 1 to 3 babies in each litter. During mating season the males, or boars, will fight one another, often standing on their hind legs to "box" one another and try to break their opponent's tusks. In the early part of the year, the baby babirusa are born. The females will make a nest of underbrush and grasses, where she gives birth to her small litter. The babies will nurse for 6 to 8 months but also start to become more active and will start to forageWhat does forage mean? with the group and eat solid food within 3 to 10 days. The young babirusa become mature at 1-2 years.


Babirusa rely most on their senses of smell and hearing, both of which are excellent. They mainly communicate with low grunts or moans, and by clattering their teeth when excited.

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