Fun Babirusa Pig Facts For Kids

Rhea Nischal
Jan 05, 2023 By Rhea Nischal
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Discover exhilarating babirusa pig facts about its behavior, teeth, young, diet, and more!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.4 Min

Did you know that the babirusa pig is a wild pig that has extraordinary curving canine teeth, or tusks, that bend towards its forehead? These teeth can astonishingly grow through the skin on the top of the snout!

Surely, you have never heard the word 'babirusa'. It is a word in the Malay language and means pig deer. The wild growth of the babirusa's tusks is similar to that of deer antlers, and that is why it was named so.

This unique pig can be seen in the rainforests and swamps of Indonesian islands. This wild animal belongs to the Suidae pig family and is a member of the genus Babyrousa.

It is a member of the pig family but is different from common pigs due to its unique features. The snout of the babirusa is not as specialized when compared to that of the rest of the pigs.

This pig also has a complicated two-chambered stomach which is similar to the sheep's digestive system. It's believed by scientists that during early evolution, babirusa pigs branched off from the pig family.

Both sexes have lower tusks, however, it is the upper tusks of the male that make the babirusa species famous! The babirusa has a barrel-shaped body and possesses bristly skin with legs that are similar to that of a deer.

It can possess white, black, creamy gold, gray, or brown color on its body.

It appears to be hairless or naked. It can reach a height of 2 ft (0.6 m) and range between 3-3.7 ft (0.9-1.1 m) in length.

Its upper canines are similar to antlers a lot more than tusks. Keep reading to get to known about this distinct physical feature of the charismatic babirusa pig as well as its behavior, young, diet, and more!

If you enjoyed reading about the Babirusa pig, you must read our Juliana pig fun facts and Axis deer facts for kids!

Babirusa Pig Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a babirusa pig?

It is an extraordinary pig that has four different species. The most renowned species is the Babyrousa celebensis that is a babirusa spotted in Sulawesi and nearby islands of Indonesia that appears to be naked and has monstrous tusks.

Other babirusa species have coats that vary from brown to creamy gold to gray to black to white in color. Other species also have longer coats.

Native to Indonesia's islands of Buru, Sula, Togian, and Sulawesi, this pig gets its name from a word of Malay language that means 'pig deer' as its tusks resemble deer antlers. Humans began eating and hunting babirusas about 30,000 years ago.

The babirusa's swimming prowess is excellent and it's believed that these animals swam to Sulu. The babirusa is renowned for its upper canines.

What class of animal does a babirusa pig belong to?

All species of this Indonesian pig belong to the class Mammalia.

How many babirusa pigs are there in the world?

The total number of these Indonesian pigs in their native habitat is approximately less than 10,000 individuals. However, they're all classified as Threatened species by the IUCN.

Where does a babirusa pig live?

Babirusas inhabit the rainforests of Indonesia where they reside in swamps. It can be spotted foraging across the forest. This forest-dwelling pig can be spotted in Sulawesi island, Togian island, Sula island, and Buru island.

It's not found anywhere on Earth except in Indonesia. Babirusa inhabits a predator-free environment and faces no threats from predators. However, its main threats are humans!

What is a babirusa pig's habitat?

The babirusa is a forest-dwelling pig that inhabits the swamps in Indonesian rainforests. It lives in Sula, Buru, Togian, and Sulawesi islands only and cannot be spotted anywhere else in the world.

It prefers to inhabit moist forests grounds covered with a dense growth of canes, near shores of lakes and rivers. Dense shrub vegetation is avoided by these oinkers. When kept in the sand in captivity, the babirusa kneels down and pushes its head into the sand to create a deep furrow.

It snorts, growls, and lets foamy saliva out of its mouth while plowing. The males of this species will plow powerfully in presence of another male.

Who do babirusa pigs live with?

Males of this species live alone or can also be found living in bachelor herds that comprise two to three males, whereas females can be seen with their young in groups comprising up to eight individuals. For most of the day, the babirusa can be seen foraging and roaming across the forest.

Not much is known about this forest-dwelling babirusa, but we do know that it is diurnal predominantly, which means that it sleeps through the night and is active during the daytime.

It's also known to wallow in the mud when not foraging. It might also lie down to rest when it's very hot.

How long does a babirusa pig live?

The babirusa can live for 10 years in the wild, whereas the ones in zoos can have an age of 20 years or more! The captive babirusa is known to portray excitement and enjoyment when it greets familiar people by wagging its tail, shaking its head, or running around.

How do they reproduce?

The mating system of babirusa pigs has been characterized as a roving dominance hierarchy between male pigs of a region. Males utilize their unique tusks to win a fight with other males during their breeding season which is from January to August.

The winner of the fight gets the power to breed with many females. The gestation period varies between 150-157 days, producing a small litter of one to two piglets.

The babirusa's small size of litter is assumed to be caused by the predator-free environment. The weight of the young varies between 13.4-37 oz (380-1050 g).

The young are welcomed to the world in the initial months of a year. The young start to include solid food in their diet just three to ten days after birth.

The piglets are weaned at six to eight months after birth. The piglets become sexually mature between one to two years of age.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these species of Indonesian pigs is Threatened as per the IUCN. The Babyrousa babyrussa, North Sulawesi babirusa (Babyrousa celebensis), and Babyrousa bolabatuensis have been classified as Vulnerable and the Togian babirusa (Babyrousa togeanensis) has been classified as Endangered.

Habitat loss, as well as poaching, are the primary threats for these species. Hunting poses a serious threat to their population.

Babirusa Pig Fun Facts

What do babirusa pigs look like?

It is renowned for its unusual upper tusks that are possessed just by the males. Lower tusks are possessed by both sexes.

The male babirusa's canine teeth like many other pigs grow continuously throughout their life. The babirusa's lower canine teeth overlap the snout and become longer as they grow. However, it's the upper tusks that are their characteristic physical feature.

They grow in the downward direction and bend backward to grow into the top of the snout. If these teeth do not get broken down in a fight or aren't worn down, they will pass through the skin and start curving back to the forehead of the animal.

The unique tusks can be as long as 12 in (30.4 cm) and can surprisingly grow into the skull! The body is barrel-shaped covered with bristly skin along with deer-like legs. Its coloration can be white, black, creamy gold, gray, or brown.

They can appear to be hairless or naked. They can reach a height of 2 ft (0.6 m) and their length can vary between 3-3.7 ft (0.9-1.1 m).

Babirusa Pig

How cute are they?

The upper tusks of this animal are an eye-catching characteristic. However, the nature of this pig is very adorable as it is known to wag its tail, shake its head, and run around when it sees people that are familiar.

How do they communicate?

These Indonesian animals communicate via moans, the clattering of teeth, and grunts. They're also known to engage in vigorous plowing behavior when there are other males present to show dominance. They also vocalize and produce foamy saliva when they push their heads in the sand.

How big is a babirusa pig?

Its length range is 3-3.7 ft (0.9-1.1 m) and can reach a height as long as 2 ft (0.6 m). Its length is two times that of a pygmy goat.

How fast can a babirusa pig run?

The speed of this pig has not been evaluated yet. However, we do know that domestic pig can attain a top speed of 11 mph (17.7 kph)!

How much does a babirusa pig weigh?

It can weigh up to a whopping weight of 220 lb (99.8 kg) which is approximately four times the weight of a Juliana pig!

What are the male and female names of the species?

The female is known as a sow and the male babirusa is known as a boar.

What would you call a baby babirusa pig?

The baby is called a piglet!

What do they eat?

They're omnivorous and feed upon fruits, leaves, berries, mushrooms, nuts, bark, fish, insects and their larvae, and small mammals. It can balance on its two hind legs and feed upon tree leaves. Apart from humans, its predators include domestic and feral dogs.

Are they dangerous?

They're known to get into fights with males where they employ their canines. It would be safer to maintain a distance from these animals.

Would they make a good pet?

They're wild animals and cannot be kept as pets, mainly because of their threatened status. However, they do really well when kept in captivity in zoos.

Did you know...

The Babyrousa babyrussa is hunted widely by Buru's native Christian people for its meat!

It's an outstanding swimmer!

How many piglets do the babirusa have?

The babirusa can produce one to two piglets only! This is a very small size of the litter as compared to other pigs.

Do babirusa tusks kill them?

The actual reason for the presence of tusks is still unknown. It was assumed that tusks are employed by males when fights take place to win females over.

It is also assumed that the tusks protect the pig's eyes and face from the lower tusks. The tusks of this pig are very fragile and not suitable for fights, unlike the tusks of elephants that are very strong. It's believed that the tusks are present as just a display for the female.

The females can evaluate fitness through the tusks. The tusks help females in choosing a suitable mate.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these chihuahua facts and chihuahua terrier mix interesting facts pages!

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Babirusa Pig coloring pages!

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Written by Rhea Nischal

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

Rhea Nischal picture

Rhea NischalBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

A background in Business Administration and Management from MCM DAV College, Rhea has led her to work for her father's global business. However, her passion for content production, where she manages operations to ensure all processes run smoothly. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her one-year-old nephew.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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