Red River Hog

(Potamochoerus porcus)




Facts about this animal

Red river hogs vary between 1 and 1.5 metre in body length and have a shoulder height of up to 80 cm. Large adult males may weigh well up to 100 kg. Their snout is elongated with two well developed warts in older males. The body is short and laterally flattened. The West African subspecies has a bright rufous brown fur colour with a distinct dorsal white stripe from neck to tail. The head is with a conspicuously contrasted pattern: Mainly with a black mask with whitish areas around the eyes and at the terminal tassels of long hairs on their ears.

The red river hog's favoured habitats are high forest, their fringes and thick bush country. River hogs live in sounders from up to 20 or more individuals dominated by a large master boar. Their main activity periods in the wild are at dusk or at night when the root about for their food, digging with their snout. They are swift on foot and swim well when necessary.

After a average gestation period of between 120 and 130 days, litters of three to six piglets are born. Under zoo conditions red river hogs can reach an age of 12 to 15 years.

Did you know?
that male river hogs engage in different types of dominance displays? During these fights, the warts on the pig's snout prevent any serious damage being cause by his opponents tusks.


Name (Scientific) Potamochoerus porcus
Name (English) Red River Hog
Name (French) Potamochère d'Afrique
Name (German) Pinselohrschwein, Buschschwein
Name (Spanish) Jabalí de Río
Local names Afrikaans: Bosvark
kiSwahili: Nguruwe
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
BS Thurner Hof



Range Africa and Madagascar
Habitat Primary and secondary forests, thickets in savannahs, swamps, and steppes
Wild population Unknown, but decreasing (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 170 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Red River Hog


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 74 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations, should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Colin Burnett

Why do zoos keep this animal

Red river hogs may easily be considered among the most colourful and therefore very attractive mammals. They are characteristic representatives of the Suidae family as well as of African forest dwelling animals. They are kept mainly for education purposes since they are not endangered overall their vast range in sub-Saharan Africa.


In some areas they are even considered crop pests especially where their natural enemies such as leopards or lions have been exterminated. However, river hogs can be affected regionally quite drastically by the bushmeat trade and therefore can also serve as one example animal for this urgent conservation issue.