A pygmy hippopotamus died this week after being struck by a car on River Road in northern Beaufort County.

Sharon Anderson, 28, of Dale was driving north on River Road Monday night when she struck a large animal she first thought was a rhinoceros, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office report.

Of course, it wasn't.

It was a small hippo that had wandered away from Auldbrass Plantation.

"She ran in front of the car," said Anderson, who was on her way to visit her sister with her boyfriend and two children in the 1985 Delta Oldsmobile. "I didn't know what it was."

Anderson stopped her car but didn't see the hippo. She called the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and a deputy found the animal dead.

Usually found in West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast, pygmy hippos are half the size of other hippopotamuses. They usually weigh in at about 400 to 500 pounds, are about 3 feet tall and live on both water and land

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