Babirusa, North Sulawesi


Babyrousa celebensis


Of the three species of babirusa, the Sulawesi babirusa is the largest. The male can be easily distinguished from the female by his large, curving tusks. These tusks are in fact upper canines, which protrude from the upper jaw and penetrate through the skin of the nose. The lower canines also protrude from the lower jaw; however they do not penetrate the skin. The function of the tusks is not yet clear. The Sulawesi babirusa is 34 to 42 inches long, with an 8-12 inch long tail. They can weigh between 95 and 220 pounds.

Family

Suidae

Order

Cetartiodactyla

Class

Mammalia

Range

Native to Indonesia, they are found on the Indonesian Islands of Sulawesi, Togian, Sulu, and Buru.

Habitat

Tropical rainforests on the banks of lakes and rivers.

Life Expectancy

Approximately ten years in the wild, up to 24 years in captivity.

Sexual Maturity

Between one and two years

Diet

In the wild, they feed on a variety of leaves, roots, fruits, invertebrates, and small vertebrates. In the zoo, they are fed pig pellets, apples, yams, bananas, grapes, greens, alfalfa, grain, and vegetables.

Status

IUCN – Vulnerable, CITES - Appendix I

Behaviors

The Sulawesi babirusa is a very social animal, living in groups of up to eight. They are diurnal, which means they are active during the daylight. They sleep in either a simple depression, or in constructed nests. The Sulawesi babirusa gestation period ranges from 150-158 days, resulting in a litter of one or two young. Babirusa are omnivores and feed on leaves, roots, fruits, invertebrates such as snails and worms, and small vertebrates such as birds and rodents. Unlike other pig species, they do not use their snout to root when foraging.

Adaptions

Special Interests

Babirusa translates to “pig deer” in the native language of the Indonesian Islands where it is found because the natives believe that its upper tusks resemble deer antlers.

Folklore

Conservation

Major threats to the Sulawesi babirusa include commercial logging and hunting. Commercial logging and other land uses result in habitat loss for the babirusa. This species is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN and is included on Appendix I of CITES.

Jacksonville Zoo History

The Sulawesi babirusa came to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in 2013.

Exhibit

Land of the Tiger