At Bristol Zoo Gardens we have a female pygmy hippo Sirana.
Pygmy hippos are smaller than the common hippopotamus, with proportionally longer legs, a smaller head, less prominent eyes and ears more towards the side of the head. The pygmy hippo's nose and ears can be closed underwater, an adaptation to aquatic life. The skin is hairless and sensitive to the sun, but is kept supple and moisturised by a fluid that oozes from glands all over the skin. This gives the pygmy hippo a glossy sheen all over.
Pygmy hippos are herbivores and eat grass, herbs and fruit. Unlike most other animals, pygmy hippopotamuses use their lips instead of their teeth for chomping purposes.
In the wild pygmy hippos live in fresh water and tropical rainforests. Since they are semi-aquatic, it's important for them to never be far from water, which is vital for these hippos as it both cools their bodies and hydrates their skin.
The pygmy hippo is Endangered in the wild - where it is thought less than 2,000 of these animals survive. In Liberia, destruction of forests surrounding the Sapo National Park by logging companies is damaging one of the few remaining strongholds for the pygmy hippo. We are maintaining a population in human care to help bolster the number of pygmy hippos.
Pygmy hippos are significantly smaller than their larger relatives, having evolved to suit their natural environment of dense forest canopy.
Pygmy hippos spray to mark their territory, and they spend lots of time in water. Sirana enjoys her indoor heated pool and - on hot days - her outside pool.
You can find our pygmy hippos next to Gorilla Island, opposite Seal & Penguin Coasts
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