Check out these fascinating Babirusa Facts – Babirussa is an amazing tropical pig with incredible curved tusks. She looks like a cross between a pig and a deer. And that is what its name means. In Indonesian: “babi” – “pig” and “rusa” – “deer”. Deer-like “horns” of an animal are not horns at all, but elongated canines that grow straight from its nose. The Latin name of the pig is Babyrousa celebensis. This mammal of the Suidae family lives on Indonesian islands.
Where do deer pigs live?
Babirussa inhabits rainforests. It is commonly found in areas rich in aquatic vegetation, such as the banks of rivers, lakes and ponds. Over time, the species moved from coastal areas to less accessible land at a higher altitude. Perhaps this is the result of the invasion of man in their traditional habitat.
How do they look?
The male of Babirussa has two pairs of characteristic curved canines. One pair of canines sticks out on either side of the mouth. The other one comes out of the upper part of the muzzle and bends to the forehead of the animal. The tusks of some individuals are long enough to pierce the skull. All babirussas should regularly rub their tusks against a hard surface. Inability to do this means that uncontrolledly growing fangs will ultimately kill their wearer.
The evolutionary cause of Babirussa tusks is unclear. According to one theory, the lower tusks are used as weapons, while the upper ones provide protection for the animal’s muzzle. However, they are fragile and usually do not apply in battles. Perhaps babususe needs tusks to attract females.
Females sometimes have shorter fangs or they are not there at all. Different types of babirussa have their own characteristics. For example, a gold babirussa skin can be white, black, creamy gold, or completely gold with a black sacrum. Representatives of the northern glory are the least hairy. Their brown-gray skin, rough and wrinkled, has a rare hairline. The body of babirussa is barrel-shaped, the muzzle is pointed. The limbs are long and thin.
Usually, the length of an adult individual can reach from 85 to 110 cm, and weight: from 43 to 100 kg. The height of the animal is approximately 70 cm.
Behavior: women’s hostels and lonely bachelors
- Babirussa is a social animal. Females often form small family groups. They include up to 8 individuals of young and semi-adult animals. Females and calves are social and often live together in herds of up to 84 animals. Males prefer to live alone or in small bachelor herds.
- Babirussa is active all day, especially in the morning. If the animal is not searching for food, it is either lying in the dirt to avoid overheating, or resting on bare ground or in vegetation.
- Babirussa is not particularly territorial, but it may mark its territory. The male makes deep furrows in loose sand and during this work saliva flows from his mouth. This is considered an aromatic label.
- Babirussas are quite vocal. To communicate with each other, except grunts and groans, they use the sound of teeth.
Reproduction and life cycle
The mating season of babirusa is between January and August. At this time, the males are fighting for the right to mate with several females. The fight of the males with each other reminds the “box” with the front hooves.
The gestation period of females ranges from o150 to 158 days. The female gives birth in a nest made of twigs. A typical litter consists of 1-2 cubs. This is unusually small for other types of pigs.
Newborns weigh from 380 to 1050 g. Babies begin to eat solid food just a few days after birth, and they are robbed of their breast between the ages of 6 and 8 months. Maturity is achieved between one and two years, and they can live to 24 years.
What do babirussas eat?
Babirussa is an omnivore. It feeds on a variety of plant foods, including leaves, roots, various nuts, fruits, and mushrooms. Babirussa can also eat invertebrates, small mammals and birds.
The animal obtains food by digging in soft sand and dirt, but does not use the face for this purpose, it digs up the roots and larvae of insects with the help of its hooves. Licking salt deposits near volcanic vents and hot springs, drinking water and eating the soil in these areas. Places, where mineral nutrients are in the soil, are also centers of social activity, including both wrestling and courtship.
Babirussa Enemies and threats
These animals are classified by IUCN as endangered or vulnerable. Babirussa has no natural predators. Hunting them is one of the main reasons for the vulnerable conservation status of the species. People hunt for their meat, as well as fangs, which are used by local manufacturers for the manufacture of masks. Babirussas also often fall into traps set for other animals.
Another danger is habitat reduction. More than 75% of the original forest cover has already been destroyed, and the rest of the habitat areas are under the pressure of the spread of commercial logging, ore mining and other land uses.