The Babirusa is a member of the swine family in the Babyrousa genus. These pigs are also known as pig-deer in the Malay language because of their wild-growing tusks that look similar to deer antlers. In 2002, three living subspecies of Babirusa were dignified to distant species. These pigs are closely related to hippopotamuses. Here we will discuss some interesting facts about Babirusa pigs.
How does a Babirusa look like?
The Babirusa has a typical pig-like form with a tubular shaped body and long face. They possess an arched back with long hind legs. Unlike other family members, Babirusa has scarce short hair on its body visible hairless from a distance. These pigs have wrinkled grey colored skin all over. But the color may vary because these pigs wallow in the mud. The tail is long with a thin tuft of hair at the tip. The elongated face of the Babirusa ends in a pig nose, the ears are small and shaped like a leaf.
The male Babirusa is easily identified by the presence of the impressive white tusks. The lower canine teeth extend vertically from, the lower jaw and curl backward. At the same time, the upper canine is rotated in the skull so that the teeth grow upward. On the other hand, females lack these tusks. However, some individuals can develop the upper canine long enough to erupt through the skin.
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Where does the Babirusa live? (Babirusa native to where)
The Babirusa habitat in forests on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi includes rain forests, coastal forests, and swampy forests. Their population can also be seen on the Togian, Burn, and Sulu islands. It is also assumed that once these species were found on the neighboring islands of Muna, Buton, and Lembeh.
How many species of Babirusa are there?
Following are the species of Babirusa-
- Buru Babirusa
- Bola Batu Babirusa
- North Sulawesi Babirusa
- Togian Babirusa
What is the size of the Babirusa?
Babirusa can reach from 3 to 3.7 feet in length and weigh up to 220 pounds. And their tail usually measures 10.5 to 12.5 inches long.
What does a Babirusa eat?
Like all swine species, these creatures are also omnivorous. However, unlike other swine species, the Babirusa does not use its snort to dig except in soft places like a swamp. The extreme diet of these creatures includes leaves, fruits, small animal carrion, and root. These pigs are also known to crack the nuts using the strong jaws easily.
The Sulawesi Babirusa pig mate all over the year. However, the males battle for mating rights. The expectant mother collects vegetation and tunnel into the pile to create a nest in which they give birth. The gestation period lasts for around 155 to 165 days yielding 1 to 2 litters. The babies are born without stripes or other markings and weigh about 750 grams at birth. The development of their infants is fast; they start sampling solid food as early as ten days after delivery and get mature under a year.
- The Babirusa is diurnal foraging in the morning and late afternoon, resting during the mid-day.
- These species collect bedding material and make a nest in which to spend the night.
- Many wild Sulawesi Babirusa observations come from open, swampy mineral licks where they wallow in and consume mineral-rich substrate.
- The small family group consists of one or two adult females and their offspring.
- Adults males are often solitary but may accompany a female group or be found in small bachelor groups of 2 to 3 males.
- The communication between these animals includes rattling screeches, low whines, and growling. Although the females call their young ones with a clucking sound.
- While living in captivity, Babirusa has observed getting engaged in plowing. When putting in soft sand, they will put their snouts deep into the loose soil, kneel, and slide forward on their chest.
- They also salivate while plowing, which has suggested as their unique behavior of scent marking.
- The Babirusa is an excellent swimmer and can travel from one island to another in search of food.
- These are also the fastest animals in the family of pigs; they can run as fast as a deer.
- Babirusa has an excellent sense of smell and hearing, which they use to find food and avoid predators.
- The natives of Indonesia hunt the Babirusa for food. They had also rapidly captured young and tamed.
How long does the Babirusa live?
The average lifespan of Babirusa in the wild is ten years, while in captivity, they can survive up to 24 years.
Are Babirusa endangered?
According to the IUCN red list, these species are classified as vulnerable. The primary threat to these animals are hunting, poaching, and habitat fragmentation. However, the estimated population of these species is less than 10,000 animals and declines gradually. The Indonesian law adequately protects the Babirusa, but illegal hunting is still a significant threat.
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