Montgomery Zoo’s pygmy hippo gives birth to extremely rare twins

Despite only one calf surviving, twins have been documented only 11 times since 1903.

Montgomery Zoo’s pygmy hippo gives birth to extremely rare twins
The Montgomery Zoo is welcoming a baby pygmy hippo. (Source: Montgomery Zoo)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum says its hippopotamus exhibit is growing. On Aug. 4, the zoo welcomed rare twin female pygmy hippopotamus calves to first time parents Asali and Mikey.

While they mark the fourth births of pygmy hippos to the zoo in four years, unfortunately, one of the babies lived just two days due to a condition called brachygnathism. That made it impossible for the calf to nurse.

Still, the birth of twins is a major anomaly for the species, marking just the eleventh confirmed case between 1903-2015. Zoo officials said of all those instances, there have been only four cases where one of the calves survived and only one case were both lived.

“With the high infant mortality rate of pygmy hippos, until about one month after birth, having a set a twins where one survived is significant to research and conservation of the species,” the zoo said.

The other calves born at the Montgomery Zoo, Monty in 2016 and Levi in 2018, are continuing to mature and thrive at the Greater Richmond Zoo in Virginia.

The Montgomery Zoo’s other adult pygmy hippopotamuses can be viewed in their permanent exhibit in the Africa realm of the Zoo.

Asali’s and Mikey’s surviving calf will be introduced to the public Thursday in a celebration set to start at 10 a.m.

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