Pigs

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Usually found in the swamps and rainforests of Indonesian islands, babirusas have barrel-shaped bodies balanced on delicate, deer-like legs

A pair of “demon pigs” also nicknamed the “ugliest pigs on earth” have arrived at London Zoo.

The hairless babirusas, named Budi and Beth, will spend the first few weeks settling into their dens before they begin venturing outside where visitors will be able to spot them.

The unusual animals have been likened to creatures from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

Zookeeper Hannah Joy said: “No-one could call them beautiful.”

The pigs, which have wrinkly grey skin and long wet snouts, have joined the zoo as part of an international breeding programme for the species, which is classed as “vulnerable” in the wild due to habitat-loss and being hunted for the bushmeat trade.

Ms Joy said 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”.

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The pigs eat leaves, fruits, berries, nuts, mushrooms, bark, insects, fish, and small mammals

Budi has features like Harry Potter character Professor Lupin, who turns into a werewolf at night, and Beth resembles house elf Dobby, she added.

“Just like those famous characters they’ve absolutely won us all over – the way they wag their long stringy tails when they’re happy is a joy to see.

“We are determined to rally the public in sharing our love for the unique-looking swines, reputed to be the ugliest on earth.”

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PA Media

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They are classed as “vulnerable” in the wild due to habitat-loss and being hunted for the bushmeat trade

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PA Media

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Beth, one of two hairless babirusa pigs which arrived at London Zoo

Beth has just turned two while Budi is a year old and will grow up to sport the crooked, spiral tusks the male pigs are famous for.

“They may not be Indonesia’s most photogenic residents, but babirusas do fulfil an important role in the forest’s ecology – turning the soil and spreading seeds as they forage,” said Ms Joy.

“They really are fantastic beasts who need our help.”

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