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Pigs: Suidae

Babirusa (babyroussa Babyrussa): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Babirusas weigh 132 to 220 pounds (60 to 100 kilograms) and measure 34 to 39 inches (87 to 100 centimeters) in length. They stand 25 to 32 inches (65 to 80 centimeters) tall. Depending on location, some babirusas look naked while others have long, stiff coats. Skin is brownish gray, and the tusks come out the snout and curve back towards the head.

Geographic range: Babirusas are found on the island of Sulawesi, the Togian islands, the Sulu islands, and the island of Buru.

Habitat: Babirusas are found primarily in tropical rainforests and along the banks of rivers and lakes where water vegetation is plentiful.

Babirusas feed on fruit, nuts, leaves, roots, and some animal material. (© Kenneth W. Fink/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Babirusas feed on fruit, nuts, leaves, roots, and some animal material. They also eat soil and rock at the mineral licks. Both sexes have been known to eat their young.

Behavior and reproduction: Babirusas are most active in the morning. Males live alone, but females form groups with one to five other adult females and their young. Tusks are used for attack as well as defense, but aggressive behavior is also met with body pushing, rubbing, and boxing. Pythons are the babirusa's main predator.

Though they give birth year-round in captivity, they may do so less frequently in the wild. Pregnancy lasts 155 to 175 days and result in a litter of one to two piglets. These small litters make for a slow-growing population. Offspring are weaned between twenty-six and thirty-two weeks, though they begin to eat solid foods at one week. Sexual maturity is reached at five to ten months of age.

Babirusa and people: Babirusas are hunted both commercially and for its meat. Babirusa skulls are sold in local markets to tourists and in department stores in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Conservation status: Babirusas are considered Vulnerable. The main threats to this species include hunting and loss of habitat. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsPigs: Suidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Pigs And People, Conservation Status, Forest Hog (hylochoerus Meinertzhageni): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET