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.
|A pygmy hippopotamus at National Zoo.|
|Pygmy hippopotamus distribution|
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.