Hog Wild

The red river hog, also known scientifically as Potamochoerus porcus, are a species of pig, that live in central, and western Africa. They prefer areas that have plant growth year round, and that has very soft soil. The soft soil is important, because P. porcus will make homes by burrowing. For the most part they are nocturnal animals, so during the days, they will sleep in their dens. It is also an escape from the extreme heat of Africa’s savannas.

p_porcus_map
Photo taken from http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Potamochoerus_porcus.html

The young (piglets) differ in may ways from the adults. Piglets have a very prominent white striping with dark brown and black spots, which is not seen in adults. Instead, adults are fully colored with an orangish brown fur, with a single white stripe along their back. They also have the white coloration on their face, and especially around their eyes. Adults also have tusks on their snout, these tusks are not as fear invoking as some of their relatives, but they are still a substantial three inches. Piglets being much smaller, than the three feet tall, five feet long, 250 pound adult, are not fighters. Even though they spar with their siblings, in real danger they will play dead. As they get older, they will become more aggressive, and will begin to fight more.

female-red-river-hog-with-young
Photo taken from http://www.arkive.org/red-river-hog/potamochoerus-porcus/image-G64725.html

In terms of reproduction, a female (sow) will carry between one and six piglets for 120-127 days before giving birth to her piglets. After the piglets are born, they will be weaned at around two to four months. The piglets will reach sexual maturity themselves at 18-21 months old. They will then go on to live happy lives of about 20 years. While on the topic of red river hog piglets, Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo just welcomed a couple of red river hogs to its family.

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My photo taken at the Brookfield Zoo.

These are very social animals. They live in groups of around 20, but they have been known to combine groups, making communities of around 60 individuals. Being omnivores they will use their snouts to root through dirt looking for food. This can lead to problems for farmers, because the hogs will either eat their crops, or destroy they fields looking for food. In addition to snakes, hyenas, leopards, and lions, red river hogs must escape there fiercest predators, humans. According to the IUCN Red List, P. porcus is listed as least concern. This means that they do not have the same legislative protection as some other animals. It also allows them to be hunted for sport. Luckily, they live is regions with nature preserves which means that they cannot, or are not supposed to be hunted on this land.

 

Additional Sources

https://www.saczoo.org/document.doc?id=445 

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/red-river-hog

http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Potamochoerus_porcus/

https://retrieverman.net/tag/red-river-hog/ 

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