The pygmy hippo is well adapted to life in the water spending the majority of its time in the pools of the Semi Aquatic Mammal house close to the snow leopards.
Its stocky legs, each with 4 spreading toes, act as paddles, to propel it along. Its eyes, ears and nostrils are all positioned well up on the head, so the hippo can see, hear and breathe in comfort when its whole body is submerged. The pygmy hippo’s thick, hairless hide is coated with clear, sticky mucus, secreted from special glands which acts as a skin lubricant and sun screen.
Unlike its larger cousin, the common hippopotamus, the pygmy hippo lives a solitary life. Births take place on land, and the whole process lasts only a few minutes. After about half an hour the calf is on its feet, ready to suckle. In time it learns to swim and to hold its breath, so it can then nurse under water.
Our pygmy hippo makes an exceptionally cute adoption!
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The volunteering day was well organised and a great opportunity to give back to Marwell and offer a little help. We all had a great day and most definitely be back to help where we can, also recommend to anyone else who can offer their time. Paul, SSE, 23rd May 2018