Scientific Name: Potamochoerus porcus
Red river hogs have excellent hearing and can even detect the underground movement of an earthworm!
Anyone who has visited the red river hogs here at the Los Angeles Zoo knows why they are so endearing. Their warm brown eyes, red hair, graceful shape and form, and flowing ear tufts would put these beautiful African bush pigs at the top in any porcine beauty contest!
STATUS: The IUCN has Red river hogs listed as least concern as humans often kill their natural predators, leopards. Humans have attempted to control this bush pig, often by extermination, but these feisty little hogs continue to hold their ground.
HABITAT: Roaming in forests, swamps and wherever protection is available, red river hogs are content as long as plenty of water and cover are available. Because moving about at night is safer than during the day, these mammals are nocturnal foragers. There are several daylight threats to their survival: farmers protecting their crops, certain large cats, pythons, or any carnivore able to take down a 110- to 265-pound animal. A hungry eagle might find a piglet quite appetizing.
DIET: These hogs will eat just about anything. If a delicacy is underground, they will use their sense of smell and disk-shaped nose to find it. From farm-grown crops to wild fruit and vegetables these hogs are content to dine on almost anything. If necessary and presented with the opportunity, small birds, mammals, and even an amphibian or two might find its way into the hog’s simple non-ruminating stomach.. They do have one habit that is a bit surprising: they will actually consume carrion regardless of its state of decomposition.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Red river hogs can be red-orange or grey in color. The bony features on the face of a boar offer some protection during face-to-face combat with a potential rival for the affections of his sow. The pointed ears are accentuated by tufts of hair at their tips. As with many animals, scent glands are present in several areas. Glands in their feet and lips leave scent marks as the pigs move through their habitat.
Although sows take good care of their litters (usually three to four piglets) and the father (boar) is quite involved and attentive, the young are politely booted out of their cozy family setting when it’s time for another litter. The piglets, about six months old and finally on their own, will mature and eventually produce their own families. In the wild they can live for about 10 to 15 years.