The Babirusa is a pig species that has really special canine teeth, or tusks. They have an upper and lower set of tusks and like many pigs, the tusks will grow their entire life. The really interesting set of teeth are the upper ones.
The male babirusa's upper canines start by growing downward like most other animals, but eventually the teeth rotate and start growing up and through their snout. Ouch!
If a babirusa lives long enough, with out breaking their upper tusks, the upper tusks can continue growing right through the skull. Luckily this doesn't seem to be a very common occurrence as very few examples of this have been found and the tusks are brittle and break easily.
Three More Fun Babirusa Facts
1. Babirusa's don't use their intimidating upper tusks for fighting. They fight by getting up on their hind legs and boxing with their front hooves. The purpose of the upper tusks is still a mystery.
2. The babirusa is also known as the "pig deer" in Indonesian. This may be due to their tusks reminding people of antlers, their thin deer like legs, or their 2 chamber stomach system which is more similar to that of a deer than a pig.
3. There are 4 species of Babirusa and they are native to the islands of Indonesia.
What do you think of the Babirusa?
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