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An Ultimate Ungulate Fact Sheet
Babyrousa togeanensis
Togian babirusa
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Classification
 

Kingdom:
Phylum:
Class:
Order:
Suborder:
Family:
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Genus:

Animalia
Chordata
Mammalia
Artiodactyla
Suiformes
Suidae
Babyrousini
Babyrousa

Common name:
Scientific name:
Other names:
Togian babirusa
Babyrousa togeanensis
Togian Islands babirusa, Togean babirusa, Babiroussa de l'île Togian, Babiroussa des Togian, Babirusa de Togian, Togian-Hirscheber, Favu, Tora, Beleng, Dongitan

Originally described as a subspecies of Babyrousa babyrussa, the Togian babirusa was elevated to a separate species in 2002. Diagnostic skull characteristics include a short toothrow, large premolars, and relatively small molars.

Physical Characteristics

Head and body length: 87.7-106.5 cm, based on three specimens.
Shoulder height: No records.
Tail length: 27.3-32.0 cm, based on three specimens.
Adult weight: No records, but adult males estimated to be at least 100 kg.

On the basis of skull size, male Togian babirusa are larger than any other living members of the genus Babyrousa; females are about two-thirds the size of males, and more similar in size to other babirusa females. In both sexes, the body is covered with long (but sparse) hair that may range in color from pale fawn to black; as a result, the overall color varies between individuals from nearly golden to almost black. Distinctively, the belly and insides of the legs are whitish, and this pale coloration may extend to the upper lip, contrasting with the forehead which is often dark. The tail has a well-developed terminal tuft of hair. Males are easily distinguished from females by their canine teeth, which grow into long tusks. The lower canines stick up from the lower jaw on either side of the rostrum. The sockets of the upper canines are rotated, so that these teeth erupt through the bridge of the nose and curl back towards the eyes. In the Togian babirusa, these upper canines are short and slender, and always converge at the tips.

Similar species
  • Externally, the Togian babirusa has a conspicuous coat of hair unlike the naked-appearing Sulawesi babirusa (Babyrousa celebensis), although its pelage is less dense than in the Moluccan babirusa (Babyrousa babyrussa). Neither of these two other species has pale underparts.

Reproduction and Development

Gestation period: Unknown.
Litter size: Believed to be one or two.
Weaning: Unknown.
Sexual maturity: Unknown.
Life span: Unknown.

Only anecdotal evidence exists regarding the reproduction of the Togian babirusa, although reproductive characteristics likely resemble those of the Sulawesi babirusa (Babyrousa celebensis). Based on the body size of juveniles, it appears that young stay with their mothers for several months after they are weaned.

Ecology and Behavior

Little is known about the ecology or behavior of the Togian babirusa. This species is believed to be active day and night, with the majority of anecdotal reports by local villagers occurring between 06:00 and 10:00. Individuals escape the heat of midday by resting in mud wallows or in shady spots on wet ground; bedding sites have characteristic shallow depressions, generally with little bedding. Wallowing is a regular activity that is thought to help with cooling and parasite control. After emerging from the mud, individuals will often rub themselves on trees. Togian babirusa are good swimmers, and have been reported swimming between islands. Unlike other pigs, babirusas do not root with their snouts while foraging. However, Togian babirusa have ben observed pawing at the ground to loosen roots and tubers. These babirusa are vocal pigs, with 17 vocalizations recognized. Local hunters report that other babirusa will respond to the alarm calls of a babirusa being attacked by a python, rushing to attack the snake. With each other, Togian babirusa compete over resources such as food or mates by chasing each other, butting heads, and "boxing" while standing upright on their hind legs.

Family group: Males often solitary. Females in small groups with young. Up to eleven individuals have been recorded together at a mud wallow.
Diet: Omnivorous; tubers and fallen fruits appear to be staples, but this species also feeds on vegetation and invertebrates such as worms and beetle larvae.
Main Predators: Reticulated python.

Habitat and Distribution

The Togian babirusa is adapted to primary forest, but regularly uses other habitat zones including agricultural areas (gardens and coconut plantations), secondary scrub, swamps, and beaches. It is restricted to four islands (Batudaka, Togean, Talatakoh, and Malenge) and some associated islets in the Togian archipelago off the island of Sulawesi. The approximate range is depicted in the map below.

Range Map
(From Macdonald et al., 2016)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List: Endangered (2016).
CITES Listing: Appendix I (2017).
Threats: Forest clearing (due to logging and agricultural expansion), killing by feral/domestic dogs, hunting by farmers in retaliation for crop damage.

The Togian babirusa is the most threatened of the three babirusa species, with an estimated total population of perhaps 500 (no more than 1,000) individuals. With an already limited range, this species is highly vulnerable to habitat fragmentation.

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