name = Babirusa
status = VU
status_system = iucn3.1

image_width = 250px
image_caption = Babirusa specimen at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Artiodactyla
familia = Suidae
genus = "Babyrousa"
species = "B. babyrussa"
binomial = "Babyrousa babyrussa"
binomial_authority = Linnaeus, 1758
The Babirusa or pig-deer, "Babyrousa babyrussa", is a pig-like animal native to Sulawesi and surrounding islands of Indonesia. It has two pairs of large tusks composed of enlarged canine teeth. The canines in the maxilla penetrate the top of the snout, curving back toward the forehead. The Babirusa is a threatened species.

The common and scientific names are various transcriptions of its local name, which quite literally means "pig-deer" (from Malay "babi" "pig" + "rusa" "deer" - see also Rusa Deer) in reference to the huge tusks of the male suggestive of a deer's antlers - and in fact used for a similar purpose.


The babirusa has usually been classified as a single species in the genus "Babyrousa", but recent work suggests that there may be several species, differentiable on the basis of geography, body size, amount of body hair, and the shape of the upper canine tooth of the male. Most experts agree that babirusas are part of the pig family, and are one of the oldest living members of the family, representing a subfamily, Babyrousinae, that branched off from the warthog branch of the pig family (Subfamily Phacochoerini) during the Oligocene or early Miocene.


The Babirusa is native to the large eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi and surrounding islands. Its habitat is the underbrush of tropical forests and canebrakes, and the shores of rivers and lakes. Its mostly-hairless, mottled-grey-and-brown hide provide it with a degree of camouflage. The babirusa is known for its two pairs of tusks; both its upper and its lower pairs of canine teeth are greatly enlarged, and curve up and back towards the head. The upper canines of the male babirusa are so curved and enlarged that they emerge through the flesh, by way of holes, to pass through the top of the snout.

This species is protected by Indonesian law but is threatened by illegal hunting. [Clayton, L. M.. "Effects of a Proposed Ex situ Conservation Program on In situ Conservation of the Babirusa, an Endangered Suid" Conservation Biology 14. 2 (2000), 382-385.]

Because it is split-hooved and has a three-chambered stomach (and was thus thought to be a ruminant for a long time), there was some dispute in Halakha (Jewish law) as to whether the babirusa pig is, in fact, kosher (permitted according to Jewish dietary laws). Eventually it was found that the animal is not a true ruminant, and thus remains 'trefe' like other pigs.


In captivity, the species is very inbred. There are 2 subspecies kept in zoos. One subspecies is only kept in American zoos, while the other is found mainly in European zoos. The Bronx Zoo has an excellent breeding record for this animal. There are not many zoos that have bred the animal; some that have are Los Angeles Zoo, South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Marwell Zoo, and Chester Zoo.

In 2006, a male babirusa and a female domestic pig were accidentally allowed to interbreed in the Copenhagen Zoo. The offspring were 5 hybrid piglets most resembling the babirusa, both in their teeth and skin colour. [,610590&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&ic_itemid=929035]



* Listed as Vulnerable (VU A1cd v2.3)

External links

*ARKive - [ images and movies of the babirusas "(Babyrousa spp)"]
* [ Short narrated video about the Babirusa]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • babirusa — babirúsa s. f., g. d. babirúsei Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  BABIRÚSA s. f. porc sălbatic din insulele Moluce, cu corpul fără păr şi colţii în sus, străbătând pielea botului. (<fr. babiroussa) Trimis de raduborza …   Dicționar Român

  • babirusa — statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Babyrousa babyrussa angl. babirusa; babirussa vok. Babirussa; Hirscheber rus. бабирусса pranc. babiroussa ryšiai: platesnis terminas – babirusos …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • babirusă — BABIRÚSĂ s.f. (zool.) Porc sălbatic din Malaysia, cu corpul fără păr şi colţii de pe maxilarul superior îndreptaţi în sus, străbătând pielea botului. [< fr. babiroussa < cuv. malaiez]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 17.11.2004. Sursa: DN …   Dicționar Român

  • babirusa — babirúsa ž DEFINICIJA zool. divlja istočnoindijska svinja (Babyrousa babyrussa) s karakterističnim dugim kljovama ETIMOLOGIJA nlat. Babirousa ← mal …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • babirusa — (Del malayo babi, cerdo, y rusa, ciervo). m. Cerdo salvaje que vive en Asia, de mayor tamaño que el jabalí, cuyos colmillos salen de la boca dirigiéndose hacia arriba y luego se encorvan hacia atrás. Su carne es comestible …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • babirusa — or babiroussa or babirussa [bab΄ə ro͞os′ə, bä΄bəro͞os′ə] n. [Malay babi, hog + rusa, deer] a wild pig (Babyrousa babyrussa) of the East Indies with backward curving tusks: the upper pair grow through the middle of the snout …   English World dictionary

  • babirusa — /bab euh rooh seuh, bah beuh /, n. an East Indian swine, Babyrousa babyrussa, the male of which has upper canine teeth growing upward through the roof of the mouth and curving toward the eyes, and lower canine teeth growing upward outside the… …   Universalium

  • babirusa — {{#}}{{LM B04375}}{{〓}} {{[}}babirusa{{]}} ‹ba·bi·ru·sa› {{《}}▍ s.m.{{》}} Cerdo salvaje, de mayor tamaño que el jabalí y con cuatro colmillos, dos de los cuales salen de la parte superior del hocico y están encorvados hacia atrás: • El babirusa… …   Diccionario de uso del español actual con sinónimos y antónimos

  • babirusa — ► sustantivo masculino ZOOLOGÍA Mamífero artiodáctilo, similar al jabalí pero de mayor tamaño. (Babyrussa babyrussa.) * * * babirusa (del malayo «babi», cerdo, y «rusa», ciervo, tal vez por sus colmillos semejantes a cuernos; Babyrousa babyrussa) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Babirusa — Hirscheber Hirscheber Babyrousa babyrussa Systematik Überordnung: Laurasiatheria Ordnung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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