Red River Hog

ZOO LOCATION: African Rift Valley

Lifespan: Up to 20 years

Wild Diet: Roots and other vegetation, eggs, carrion, small mammals and birds

Predators: Humans, leopards, hyenas, pythons and lions

SSP: no

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Habitat/Range: Swamps, rivers and rainforests throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo and surrounding areas of Africa.

Characteristics: Red River hogs are colorful red pigs with white eye rings, ear tassels and dorsal crests. The white hair down their back stands on end when the hogs are excited or threatened. They have short, sturdy legs, a long snout and short, sharp tusks. They are about 3-5 feet long, 2-2.5 feet tall at the shoulders and can weight up to 275 pounds. They are great swimmers, can run up to 30 mph and have an excellent sense of smell. If a fight is necessary to protect their sounder, boars have lower tusks (up to 3' long) an bony protrusions on their snout ('warts') for added protection.

Behavior: Red River hogs are social animals, forming groups called 'sounders' of around 15 individuals with a dominant boar. They use the calls of other fruit eating animals, like chimps or hornbills, to find fruit bearing trees. Mainly nocturnal feeders, these hogs hide in dense forests during daylight. Red River hogs are non-territorial and have unique survival tactics when threatened. Juveniles play 'opossum' when frightened, and adults throw their ears out and 'puff-up' to appear larger.

Reproduction: Female Red River hogs produce litters of 2 to 4 piglets after a gestation of about 120 days.

Conservation: Although Red River hogs are classified as 'Least Concern' by the IUCN, they are threatened by the commercial bush meat trade and are one of the most hunted species in the Congo basin.