Friday, March 16, 2012

Creature Feature: Red River Hog.

You know what else is in Africa, but nowhere near as well known as white lions? A lot of things. They have lots of cool birds, millions of not-so-huge herbivores, and even some smaller carnivores that get slighted in favor of larger animals. A lot of animals get pushed to the side in favor of rip-roaring big cats or, for lack of a better catch-all, pachyderms. After all, who would care about something as obscure as red pigs?


Meet the red river hog, a type of wild pig native to southwest and central Africa. Its habitat centers around the rainforests in Guinea and Congo. As its name indicates, it favors areas around rivers. It will eat anything that is remotely tasty and can fit in its mouth. Even roots are not off limit with its nose and excellent digging capabilities.

The boars of this species are only slightly bigger than the females. Like many pigs, they have tusks. They also have harems; these pigs roam the night in groups of up to 20, and the dominant boar will viciously defend his harem. Leopards are the pigs' main predator, so it really benefits them to be in a huge group!

Red river hogs are pretty snazzy-looking pigs. Along with the red fur, they have a sleek white stripe running down their backs. Their faces look like they belong to some sort of old, wise mythical creature - those of you wishing for a pig dragon for some reason, try using this hog as a basis for the face. If hogs had fashion shows that allowed wild contestants, we would be expecting to see these guys on the runway.

Red river hogs are by no means endangered. Unlike wild bovids, it is hard to find a species of pig under threat. We humans may think of swine as meat, but they are actually really hardy survivors. The biggest threat to these piggies comes from human encroachment upon their habitat. The second? Pigs will eat anything, including garden crops.  The good news is, red river hogs can be clicker trained, so maybe this proximity will have a happy ending.

Happy endings include piglets.

(Note: This one is short because tomorrow's going to be a little special. :3)

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