Wildlife Species of the Week

Red river hog (Potamochoerus porcus)

Do you know that the pig family have a Wild member? The African-American red river hogs. They are the most colorful member of the pig family. Their name comes from their distinct red coats and favorite places to spend time, rivers and streams. The red river hog lives in wet savannahs and rainforests of Western and Central Africa.

The species is omnivorous, eating mainly roots and tubers, and supplements its diet with fruit, grasses, herbs, carrions, insects and lizards. Red river hogs can spend up to 15 years in the wild, and up to 20 years under human care. Red river hogs are often active during the day but are primarily nocturnal and crepuscular.

Red river hogs have excellent hearing and can detect the underground movement of an earthworm. They have scent glands in their feet and lips, leaving scent marks everywhere they go. They also blow breath on each other as a form of greeting.

With the reduction in populations of leopards, the bush pig’s main predator, populations of the pig have been on the rise. However, the African red river hog could potentially be threatened due to habitat loss and overhunting. These animals also may eat local crops which causes them to be hunted as pests. They are listed as Least Concern with the IUCN and are part of a Species Survival Plan.

Sources

Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, Red River hog.

Animalia- All You Want to Know about Animals, Red River hog.

Peoria Zoo, Red River Hog – Potamochoerus porcus.