Exotic pig joins Riverbanks Zoo's collection

Baby giraffe Isabelle / FILE

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Riverbanks Zoo now has a unique new face on display: Bertello, a male babirusa. According to the zoo, while the babirusa moves like a deer and has skin like a hippo it is in fact a type of rare pig. The name babirusa seems fitting for the native of Indonesia, as the Malaysian term babi-rusa translates to deer-pig.

Bertello is 1 1/2-years-old and weighs about 70 pounds, but could reach 210 pounds when fully grown. Zoo officials say his long legs and protruding snout should help make Bertello one of the zoo's more popular attractions.

The babirusa TMs unique appearance places it on the must-see list at the Zoo. said John Davis, curator of mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Its most noticeable feature is its tusks protruding through the top of its snout.

The zoo says babirusas prefer to live in moist forests, reed thickets and shores of rivers and lakes.

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The male babirusa came to Riverbanks from the Los Angeles Zoo in December and has been getting acclimated since then. Visitors can now see Bertello in the former warthog exhibit during normal Zoo hours.

Bertello is just one of several new additions to Riverbanks. In December baby koala Owen was born to parents Jimmie and Lottie. November saw a new Hamadryas baboon join the troop. Isabelle, a giraffe, was introduced to the public in October.