Red river hog

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Red river hog
Pinselohrschwein Potamochoerus porcus Tierpark Hellabrunn-5.jpg
Male at Tierpark Hellabrunn in Munich, Germany
Potamochoerus porcus Zoo Amneville 28092014 2.jpg
Female with juvenile at Amneville Zoo in Amnéville, France
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Genus: Potamochoerus
P. porcus
Binomial name
Potamochoerus porcus
Potamochoerus porcus range map.png

Sus porcusLinnaeus, 1758

The red river hog (Potamochoerus porcus) or bushpig (a name also used for Potamochoerus larvatus ) is a wild member of the pig family living in Africa, with most of its distribution in the Guinean and Congolian forests. It is rarely seen away from rainforests, and generally prefers areas near rivers or swamps. [2]



The skull Potamochoerus porcus 02 MWNH 737.JPG
The skull
Male with distinct bony facial protuberances Schwein Pinselohrschwein 0509011.jpg
Male with distinct bony facial protuberances

The red river hog has striking orange to reddish-brown fur, with black legs and a tufted white stripe along the spine. Adults have white markings around the eyes and on the cheeks and jaws; the rest of the muzzle and face are a contrasting black. The fur on the jaw and the flanks is longer than that on the body, with the males having especially prominent facial whiskers. Unlike other species of pig native to tropical Africa, the entire body is covered in hair, with no bare skin visible. [3]

Adults weigh 45 to 115 kg (99 to 254 lb) and stand 55 to 80 cm (22 to 31 in) tall, with a length of 100 to 145 cm (39 to 57 in). [2] The thin tail is 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 in) long [2] and ends in a tuft of black hair. The ears are also long and thin, ending in tufts of white or black hair that may each 12 cm (4.7 in) in length. Boars are somewhat larger than sows, and have distinct conical protuberances on either side of the snout and rather small, sharp tusks. The facial protuberances are bony and probably protect the boar's facial tendons during head-to-head combat with other males. [3]

Red river hogs have a dental formula of 3.1.3––4.3, similar to that of wild boar. Both sexes have scent glands close to the eyes and on the feet; males have additional glands near the tusks on the upper jaw and on the penis. There is also a distinctive glandular structure about 2 cm (0.79 in) in diameter on the chin, which probably has a tactile function. Females have six teats. [3]

Distribution and habitat

The red river hog lives in rainforests, wet dense savannas, and forested valleys, and near rivers, lakes and marshes. The species' distribution ranges from the Congo area and Gambia to the eastern Congo, southwards to the Kasai and the Congo River. The exact delineation of its range versus that of the bushpig is unclear; but in broad terms, the red river hog occupies western and central Africa, and the bushpig occupies eastern and southern Africa. [3] Where the two meet, they are sometimes said to interbreed, [4] although other authorities dispute this. [3] Although numerous subspecies have been identified in the past, none are currently recognised. [3]


Red river hog at Durrell Wildlife Park (Jersey) Pinselohrschwein im Durrell Wildlife Park.JPG
Red river hog at Durrell Wildlife Park (Jersey)

Red river hogs are often active during the day, but are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular. [5] They typically live in small groups of approximately six to ten animals, composed of a single adult male, and a number of adult females and their young. [3] However, much larger groups, some with over 30 individuals, have been noted in particularly favourable habitats. [6] The boar defends his harem aggressively against predators, with leopards being a particularly common threat. [7]

They communicate almost continuously with grunts and squeals with a repertoire that can signal alarm, distress, or passive contact. [2]

The species is omnivorous, eating mainly roots, bulbs, and tubers, and supplements its diet with fruit, seeds, nuts, water plants, grasses, herbs, fungi, eggs, dead animal and plant remains, insects, snails, lizards, other reptiles, and domestic animals such as piglets, goats, and sheep. [8] It uses its large muzzle to snuffle about in the soil in search of food, as well as scraping the ground with their tusks and fore-feet. They can cause damage to agricultural crops, such as cassava and yams. [3]


Piglets at the Cincinnati Zoo RedRiverHog2 CincinnatiZoo.jpg
Piglets at the Cincinnati Zoo

Red river hogs breed seasonally, so that the young are born between the end of the dry season in February and the midpoint of the rainy season in July. [2] The oestrus cycle lasts 34 to 37 days. [9] The male licks the female's genital region before mating, which lasts about five to ten minutes. Gestation lasts 120 days. [2]

The mother constructs a nest from dead leaves and dry grass before giving birth to a litter of up to six piglets, with three to four being most common. [3] The piglets weigh 650 to 900 g (23 to 32 oz) at birth, and are initially dark brown with yellowish stripes and spots. They are weaned after about four months, and develop the plain reddish adult coat by about six months; the dark facial markings do not appear until they reach adulthood at about two years of age. They probably live for about fifteen years in the wild. [3]

Related Research Articles

<i>Sus</i> (genus) Genus of even-toed ungulates

Sus is the genus of wild and domestic pigs, within the even-toed ungulate family Suidae. Sus include domestic pigs and their ancestor, the common Eurasian wild boar, along with other species. Sus species, like all suids, are native to the Eurasian and African continents, ranging from Europe to the Pacific islands. Suids other than the pig are the babirusa of Indonesia, the pygmy hog of South Asia, the warthogs of Africa, and other pig genera from Africa. The suids are a sister clade to peccaries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wild boar</span> Species of mammal

The wild boar, also known as the wild swine, common wild pig, Eurasian wild pig, or simply wild pig, is a suid native to much of Eurasia and North Africa, and has been introduced to the Americas and Oceania. The species is now one of the widest-ranging mammals in the world, as well as the most widespread suiform. It has been assessed as least concern on the IUCN Red List due to its wide range, high numbers, and adaptability to a diversity of habitats. It has become an invasive species in part of its introduced range. Wild boars probably originated in Southeast Asia during the Early Pleistocene and outcompeted other suid species as they spread throughout the Old World.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Common warthog</span> Wild member of the pig family

The common warthog is a wild member of the pig family (Suidae) found in grassland, savanna, and woodland in sub-Saharan Africa. In the past, it was commonly treated as a subspecies of P. aethiopicus, but today that scientific name is restricted to the desert warthog of northern Kenya, Somalia, and eastern Ethiopia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Suidae</span> Family of mammals belonging to even-toed ungulates

Suidae is a family of artiodactyl mammals which are commonly called pigs, hogs or swine. In addition to numerous fossil species, 18 extant species are currently recognized, classified into between four and eight genera. Within this family, the genus Sus includes the domestic pig, Sus scrofa domesticus or Sus domesticus, and many species of wild pig from Europe to the Pacific. Other genera include babirusas and warthogs. All suids, or swine, are native to the Old World, ranging from Asia to Europe and Africa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sitatunga</span> Species of swamp-dwelling antelope

The sitatunga or marshbuck is a swamp-dwelling medium-sized antelope found throughout central Africa, centering on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, parts of Southern Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, Ghana, Botswana, Rwanda, Zambia, Gabon, the Central African Republic, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The sitatunga is mostly confined to swampy and marshy habitats. Here they occur in tall and dense vegetation as well as seasonal swamps, marshy clearings in forests, riparian thickets and mangrove swamps.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roan antelope</span> Species of mammal

The roan antelope is a large savanna-dwelling antelope found in western, central, and southern Africa. Named for its roan colour, it has lighter underbellies, white eyebrows and cheeks and black faces, lighter in females. It has short, erect manes, very light beards and prominent red nostrils. It is one of the largest antelope, measuring 190–240 cm (75–94 in) from head to the base of the tail, and a 37–48 cm (15–19 in) long tail. Males weigh 242–300 kg (534–661 lb) and females 223–280 kg (492–617 lb). Its shoulder height is around 130–140 cm (51–55 in).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gerenuk</span> Long-necked species of antelope (Litocranius walleri)

The gerenuk, also known as the giraffe gazelle, is a long-necked, medium-sized antelope found in parts of East Africa. The sole member of the genus Litocranius, the gerenuk was first described by the naturalist Victor Brooke in 1879. It is characterised by its long, slender neck and limbs. The antelope is 80–105 centimetres tall, and weighs between 18 and 52 kilograms. Two types of colouration are clearly visible on the smooth coat: the reddish brown back or the "saddle", and the lighter flanks, fawn to buff. The horns, present only on males, are lyre-shaped. Curving backward then slightly forward, these measure 25–44 cm.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Feral pig</span> Any type of feral domesticated pig, wild boar, or hybrid

A feral pig is a domestic pig which has gone feral, meaning it lives in the wild. The term feral pig has also been applied to wild boars, which can interbreed with domestic pigs. They are found mostly in the Americas and Australia. Razorback and wild hog are Americanisms applied to feral pigs or boar–pig hybrids.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bushpig</span> Species of mammal

The bushpig is a member of the pig family that inhabits forests, woodland, riverine vegetation and cultivated areas in East and Southern Africa. Probably introduced populations are also present in Madagascar. There have also been unverified reports of their presence on the Comoro island of Mayotte. Bushpigs are mainly nocturnal. There are several subspecies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pygmy hog</span> Species of mammal

The pygmy hog is a very small and endangered species of pig and the only species in the genus Porcula. Endemic to India, the pygmy hog is a suid native of the alluvial grasslands in the foothills of the Himalayas, at elevations of up to 300 m (980 ft). Populations of pygmy hogs were once widespread in the tall, dense, wet grasslands in a narrow belt of the southern Himalayan foothills from north-western Uttar Pradesh to Assam, through southern Nepal and North Bengal, and possibly extending into contiguous habitats in southern Bhutan. Due to human encroachment and destruction of the pygmy hogs’ natural habitat, the species was thought to have gone extinct in the early 1960s. However, in 1971, a small pygmy hog population was rediscovered as they were fleeing a fire near the Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam. Today, the only known population of pygmy hogs resides in Manas National Park in Assam, India. The population is threatened by livestock grazing, fires and poaching. With an estimated population of less than 250 mature individuals, the pygmy hog is listed as an Endangered species on the IUCN Red List, and conservation efforts such as captive breeding and re-release programs are currently being employed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zebra duiker</span> Species of mammal

The zebra duiker is a small antelope found primarily in Liberia, as well as the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and occasionally Guinea. They are sometimes referred to as the banded duiker or striped-back duiker. It is believed to be one of the earliest duiker species to have evolved.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Giant forest hog</span> Species of mammal

The giant forest hog, the only member of its genus (Hylochoerus), is native to wooded habitats in Africa and is one of the largest wild members of the pig family, Suidae, along with a few subspecies of the wild boar. It was first described in 1904. The specific name honours Richard Meinertzhagen, who shot the type specimen in Kenya and had it shipped to the Natural History Museum in England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Philippine warty pig</span> Species of mammal

The Philippine warty pig is one of four known species in the pig genus (Sus) endemic to the Philippines. They have tufts of hair on the top of their head and on the lower sides of their jaws, as well as four warts on their faces. Their skulls are elongated; males have tusks and bigger skulls than females, an example of sexual dimorphism. They are considered Vulnerable by the IUCN, and their population is currently declining due to multiple threats. The pigs are probably nocturnal.

<i>Kolpochoerus</i> Extinct genus of mammals

Kolpochoerus is an extinct genus of the pig family Suidae related to the modern-day genera Hylochoerus, Phacochoerus, and Potamochoerus. It is believed that most of them inhabited African forests, as opposed to the bushpig and red river hog that inhabit open brush and savannas. There are currently eleven recognized species.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Desert warthog</span> Species of mammal

The desert warthog is a species of even-toed ungulate in the pig family (Suidae), found in northern Kenya and Somalia, and possibly Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. This is the range of the extant subspecies, commonly known as the Somali warthog. Another subspecies, commonly known as the Cape warthog, became extinct around 1865, but formerly occurred in South Africa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Warthog</span> Genus of wild pigs

Phacochoerus is a genus in the family Suidae, commonly known as warthogs. They are pigs who live in open and semi-open habitats, even in quite arid regions, in sub-Saharan Africa. The two species were formerly considered conspecific under the scientific name Phacochoerus aethiopicus, but today this is limited to the desert warthog, while the best-known and most widespread species, the common warthog, is Phacochoerus africanus.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gabon talapoin</span> Species of Old World monkey

The Gabon talapoin, also known as the northern talapoin, is a small species of African monkey native to riparian habitats in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the western Republic of the Congo and the far western Democratic Republic of Congo. It may have been introduced to Bioko and the Canary Islands. Classified in the genus Miopithecus, it was given the name Miopithecus ogouensis, based on the River Ogooué, distinguishing it from the other species, the Angolan talapoin, also known as Miopithecus talapoin.

<i>Potamochoerus</i> Genus of mammals

Potamochoerus is a genus in the pig family (Suidae). The two species are restricted to sub-Saharan Africa, although the bushpig, possibly due to introduction by humans, also occurs in Madagascar and nearby islands. Early in the 20th century, there were considered to be as many as five different species within the genus. These were gradually consolidated, until, in the 1970s, it was generally agreed that all were representatives of just a single species. The bushpig was again recognised as a separate species from about 1993.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Boar–pig hybrid</span> Hybridised offspring

Boar–pig hybrid is a hybridized offspring of a cross between the Eurasian wild boar and any domestic pig. Feral hybrids exist throughout Eurasia, the Americas, Australia, and in other places where European settlers imported wild boars to use as game animals. In many areas, a variable mixture of these hybrids and feral pigs of all-domesticated original stock have become invasive species. Their status as pest animals has reached crisis proportions in Australia, parts of Brazil, and parts of the United States, and the animals are often freely hunted in hopes of eradicating them or at least reducing them to a controllable population.


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