Red River Hog

Red River Hog

Potamachoerus porcus

See them at the Zoo

Quick Facts

Weight: 100 to 285 pounds
Distribution:

Central and southern Africa

Habitat:

Forested areas where there is enough rain to support plant growth throughout the year and to keep the ground soft

Wild Diet:

Roots, bulbs, fallen fruit, invertebrates, and small animals such as reptiles and birds

Zoo Diet: Nutritionally complete alfalfa-based pelleted diet, fruits and vegetables, including apples, sweet potatoes, and carrots; also alfalfa hay and occasionally insects and browse

How did they get here?

Red river hogs are found both on the mainland of Africa and on Madagascar. This is fairly unique. Theories include being brought by humans to the island of Madagascar and floating on papyrus beds to the island.

Description

They have striking rust-red fur, with black to gray legs and a white stripe down the spine. They have white and black facial markings and white rings around their eyes. They are the most colorful pigs and they use their colors, ear tassels, and neck manes in spectacular threat displays. Their snout is elongated with two well-developed warts in older males. The fur on the jaw and the flanks is longer than on the body. Adults weigh 100 to 285 lbs. The thin tail is 12 to 18 inches long. They are sexually dimorphic (2 distinct gender forms). The male is slightly larger than the female and has recognizable ridges on both sides of the snout. Both genders have smaller upper tusks and lower tusks that can reach up to 3 inches.

Status in the Wild

They are common in their geographic range despite being targeted by farmers who perceive them as a threat to crops. With the reduction in leopard populations, populations of red river hogs are on the rise. They are very heavily hunted not only for subsistence but for the bushmeat trade.

Conservation Programs
  • Listed as of "least concern" with trend decreasing on the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources).
  • The Bushmeat Crisis Task Force supports conservation efforts for this and other species.

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