Denver Zoo Map

Potamochoerus porcus



Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Genus: Potamochoerus
Species: porcus


Fun Facts

  • Red river hogs are good swimmers.
  • Male red river hogs are called “boars” and females are called “sows”.



Red river hogs inhabit west and central Sub-Saharan Africa to north South Africa, and Madagascar.


They populate primary and secondary forests, thickets in savannas and swamps throughout their range.

Physical Description

  • Red river hogs are three to three and a half feet (100-150 cm) long.
  • Their weight ranges from 100-250 pounds (45-112 kg) with males larger than females.
  • They stand two to three feet (55-80 cm) tall at the shoulder.
  • The tail measures 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) long.
  • Red river hogs have a shaggy rusty red coat with white eye rings, a long white ear tassel on each ear, and an erectile white mane.
  • They have small upper tusks and longer lower tusks which can measure up to three inches (7 cm) long.
  • In males, the snout is covered in warts and ridges.


What Does It Eat?

In the wild: An omnivorous animal that eats tree roots, fruits, water plants, bulbs, grasses, mushrooms, small mammals, reptiles, birds, bird eggs, insects and carrion.
At the zoo: Carrots, yams, potatoes, turnips, hoofstock pellets and hay.

What Eats It?

Leopards, lions, and humans prey on the red river hog.

Social Organization

Red river hogs are social animals living in family groups called “sounders” consisting of one male, two or more females, and young of varying ages.

Life Cycle

Females are sexually mature at 18-21 months. Births occur mainly during the wet summer months from November through February. After a gestation of 120-127 days the female gives birth to a litter of one to six piglets. The newborn piglets have horizontal stripes and spots that provide camouflage for the first four months. Piglets nurse for two to four months. The dominant male in the group will protect and care for the young. Red river hogs can live up to 20 years in captivity.


Stylish Pigs

Red river hogs are the most beautiful members of the pig family and one of the most colorful mammals. They have rusty red fur with a crest of white erectile hairs down the back. They have white whisker tufts along their cheeks and white circles around their eyes. They have tufts of white hair (tassels) extending from the ear tips, and the muzzle and face are black.

Rooting Around

Red river hogs have a great sense of smell. They use their snouts to sniff out food sources on the ground. Their snouts are firm and are used like shovels to root around in the moist soft ground and dig up roots or bulbs. They also use their razor sharp tusks for cutting through tough woody plants and tubers.

No Menu Needed!

Like other members of the pig family, red river hogs are omnivores and will eat almost anything. Their favorite foods are fallen fruits, roots and bulbs. But they also eat grasses, mushrooms, small mammals, reptiles, birds and bird eggs, a variety of insects and even carrion. When they live near settled areas, they will also raid gardens which puts them in conflict with local farmers.

Conservation Connection

IUCN Status: Lower Risk-Least Concern.
Red river hogs are currently abundant and not endangered. Their numbers have increased due to the increase in farming which provides a ready source of food for the pigs.

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