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Which small mammal interests you more: The volcano rabbit or the pygmy hog? (poll)

Discussion in 'Zoo Cafe' started by Onychorhynchus coronatus, 22 Oct 2020.

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Which small mammal interests you more: the volcano rabbit or the pygmy hog ?

Poll closed 1 Nov 2020.
  1. Volcano rabbit

    5 vote(s)
    26.3%
  2. Pygmy hog

    14 vote(s)
    73.7%
  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I thought it would be interesting to create yet another poll in a series for zoochatters to vote for one of two small mammal EDGE species.

    This time these animals have some commonalities being that they are miniatures of their close relatives, exceedingly rare in captivity and "little brown jobs" in conservation terms: The volcano rabbit and the pygmy hog.

    Which species interests you most / will you vote for ?

    Please also feel free to write comments regarding why you made the choice and why the species you have voted for interests you more.

    Thanks !

    Look forward to seeing the results!
     
    Last edited: 22 Oct 2020
  2. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member

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    Pygmy hog. It's a small pig what else do you want?
     
  3. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    They are pretty cute animals, I agree.

    The irony being of course that despite that cuteness very few people in the world or even in India know that they exist.
     
    Last edited: 22 Oct 2020
  4. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member

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    On a side note, has any zoochatters seen both species? Volcano rabbit are in Jersey and Antwerp during the 80s, so does pygmy hogs in Zurich at similar time. Of course there are still captive Volcano rabbit in Japan and Mexico now, and I believe there are centers in India for the pygmy hogs.
     
  5. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Saw the volcano rabbit weekly at Chapultepec for a couple of years and knew the team who looked after them too.

    Never seen a live pygmy hog and fully expect to never see one in my lifetime too. However, I have seen a taxidermy specimen of one at the Tring natural history museum in the UK and I suppose that is good enough for me (though it would be incredible to see a live one of these little porkers).

    I believe that the pygmy hog is currently only kept ex-situ at centers in Assam in India that are run or supervised by the Durrell Trust. I might be wrong about this though in regards to zoos in India holding them and there may be more of them kept in captivity somewhere.

    Durrell seem to have had quite a bit of success with breeding this species and reintroducing it back to the wild. There was a documentary released by the trust on youtube on the work they do with that species that I'll post below.

    You might find it interesting and it is quite good.

     
    Last edited: 22 Oct 2020
  6. CheeseChameleon1945

    CheeseChameleon1945 Well-Known Member

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    Volcano rabbit, because I think its lifestyle is unlike any other rabbit.
     
  7. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Yes, true, it is really quite an exceptional little animal.

    It is also the smallest rabbit species in the world which is a pretty singular thing.
     
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  8. FelipeDBKO

    FelipeDBKO Well-Known Member

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    Pygmy hog, at least to my eye it's more morphologically unique when compared to the other pigs than the teporingo when compared to other rabbits, both in shape and size. Specially in that Planet Earth scenario showing a group walking through that super tall indian grass, which definitely doesn't make then look larger. Himalayan is amongst my favorite non-tropical fauna also.
    Based on what I know at least, since I'm not acquainted with the natural history of both species.
     
  9. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your comment @FelipeDBKO !

    That is a really interesting perspective. I agree that the pygmy hog is pretty morphologically unique given its drastically shrunken size compared to other pigs, it is an incredible little animal.

    This one is a case of small vs small as the volcano rabbit is the smallest lagomorph while the pygmy hog is the smallest of all the suids.

    Interesting, both of these species are very dependant on grasses for their survival and both are threatened by habitat destruction in the form of wildfires, overgrazing by domestic animals and human development.

    That was brilliant footage by the BBC in Planet Earth wasn't it ? I love that they also focused on this species alongside the larger species that are found within that habitat like rhino, tiger and elephant.

    Interesting ! why do you find the Himalayan fauna most interesting ?
     
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  10. FelipeDBKO

    FelipeDBKO Well-Known Member

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    Planet Earth I and II, which I've watched for the first time only recently having been introduced to Attenborough's work, showcase very well some of the diversity and behaviour peculiarities that turned my interest on. Specially the snow leopard vertical chase and territory marking bits.
    The sudden change in height of the Indian Plate collision allows for at least two main very distinct communities to have formed even being separated for a short horizontal distance - the foothill grassland dwellers (pygmy hog, megafauna, etc) and the true highland dwellers (snow leopard, caprines, etc). The intermediate area also serves as a potential meeting point for species typically regarded as southeast asian, such as the tiger and the clouded leopard.
    The pheasants there are the ones which I find the most beautiful too (blood pheasant, himalayan and Scatler's monals, and satyr, Blyth's and western tragopans, to be more specific).
     
  11. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I think Planet Earth has been a brilliant series to showcase the world's biodiversity and glad to hear that you enjoyed watching it. Some of the footage they obtained is incredible and with Attenborough's narration it is superb.

    Biogeographically the Himalayas are a really interesting region I agree with you. There are just so many endemic species native to this zone that are of top conservation concern like the pygmy hog for example.

    Yes, the pheasants, tragopans and the monals are incredibly diverse there and there are some really beautiful species. The Himalayan monal for example is such a striking species.
     
  12. Jungle Man

    Jungle Man Well-Known Member

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    For me, it is the Teporingo. First, because I have a better possibility of seeing one than I would have on seeing a Pygmy hog. Second, they are simply elusive, shy creatures that need protection and are very interesting to learn about. Also, they look like small, fluffy bundles of fur.

    Actually, it is the world's second smallest rabbit after the Pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis).
     
  13. CheeseChameleon1945

    CheeseChameleon1945 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed.
     
  14. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    If anyone has, I predict it would be @devilfish :p I know he has definitely seen Teporingo.
     
  15. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Yes, I've seen both species; volcano rabbit in Jersey and pygmy hog in Zurich.
     
  16. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Can't wait to see the reply to your comment by @devilfish , I think that he will probably have seen both of these too

    Thank you for your comment Tim!

    Very lucky to have seen both !

    What are your memories of the pygmy hogs at Zurich ? What were these animals like to observe ?
     
    Last edited: 24 Oct 2020
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  17. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your comment @Jungle Man !

    Yes, you must visit Mexico one day as you will have plenty of opportunities to see them very close up at the Chapultepec zoo.

    I too voted for this species as out of the two animals it is the only one I've seen alive and I do feel quite a lot of affection for them given their plight in the wild and what I've seen of their outsized characters (despite their tiny size) in captivity.

    I should say though that although they look to be very shy animals (and generally are) they could put up quite a fight when it came to the vets. Actually more than one vet at the Chapultepec zoo has scars from a bite or scratch from an angry volcano rabbit. :D

    Yes, sorry, you are indeed correct about that. The teporingo is indeed the second smallest rabbit species after the pygmy rabbit from the United States.
     
    Last edited: 24 Oct 2020
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  18. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The only time I've seen pygmy hogs was on my first visit to Zurich Zoo and that was almost forty years ago; regrettably, there were no longer pygmy hogs in Zurich on my second and subsequent visits.

    The pygmy hogs were delightful creatures; very active and they made a superb exhibit.

    Incidentally, I find it impossible to answer your original question as to whether the volcano rabbit or the pygmy hog is the more interesting. I couldn't really compare a lagomorph to a suid; both are fascinating species, in different ways.
     
  19. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    No problem Tim, I understand, it is indeed a hard choice between the two.

    It is amazing to hear that you have seen both of these species in captivity and that is quite a remarkable thing.

    It is quite a challenging thing to see either of these in zoos now. At least with the volcano rabbit it entails either going to Japan or Mexico and I imagine in the case of the pygmy hog it entails travelling to India and obtaining permission to see them in the ex-situ facilities of the Durrell trust (which must be quite difficult to get).

    Out of curiosity, do you know what happened to the pygmy hogs at Zurich ? Were there challenges in establishing them ex-situ in zoos ?
     
  20. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    A combination of factors; firstly, they were never meant to remain at Zurich, with 3,3 individuals planned to come there for quarantine and move onto Jersey, but bureauocracy and other such issues meant only 1,1 arrived and they had to stay at Zurich.

    Secondly, the pair bred only once and produced a litter of 4,1 piglets - but both the younger and older female died not long afterwards, leaving several males with no prospect of further imports. Had the females lived, I suspect the species may have stood a chance of hanging around as pigs are both notoriously fecund and seem relatively resistant to inbreeding depression.