ZSL London Zoo is squealing with delight at the arrival of the “ugliest pigs in the world” who made their zoo debut this week.
The hairless babirusa pigs, called Budi and Beth, originate from Indonesia, where they have all sorts of unusual nicknames.
Keeper Hannah Joy explains: “Their traditional nicknames aren’t kind at all; people who live alongside them in Indonesia call them rat pigs or demon pigs, because of their long, misshapen tusks – which are actually teeth growing through their noses that curl backwards.”
The pair are part of a very important international breeding programme that has been put in place to help safeguard the future of this unusual species. The pigs play a very important part in the ecosystem of their forest habitat – they dig up the ground while foraging for food, which helps to spread seeds and helps the forest to grow.
One surprising fact about these pigs is that they are very good swimmers, so if you visit Budi and Beth at London Zoo you may even catch them taking a cooling dip!