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Hamilton: Male, born July 30, 2007 at the Memphis Zoo. He arrived at the Zoo on February 17, 2012.
Charlotte and Ruby: Sisters, born June 16, 2002 at the Denver Zoo. Arrived at the Zoo on February 17, 2012.
The red river hog is one of the most colorful mammal species in the world. Their coat is bright red with striking white markings on the face and a white stripe of longer hair down the back. Their ears are large and end in tassel-like white tufts. Like all pigs, their nose ends is a sturdy cartilage disc that they use to dig through the soil in search of food. This is the smallest species of wild pig in Africa.
Red river hogs can live to 19 in zoos, but a typical lifespan is around 13 years. Their lifespan in the wild is not known, but is likely to be shorter than in zoos.
Mainly nocturnal, red river hogs can live in just about any type of habitat that provides food and cover. They are often gather in large numbers along with forest buffalo and other ungulates in rainforest clearings that are kept open by elephants. Normally they live in groups called sounders that consist of around 15 individuals including a male (boar) and several females (sows) with their young. The boar leads the group and stays in contact by making soft grunts as he travels. Red river hogs are good swimmers and are often found in marshes and swamps. A broad range of predators hunt red river hogs, although leopards and spotted hyenas are their most serious threats. The family boar and sows band together to aggressively defend their offspring against predators, and the boar's sharp tusks provide a good level of defense.
Red river hogs give birth to an average of 2-4 young after a gestation of 122 days. Females will separate from the group and prepare a nest where she gives birth. Weighing less than 2 lbs (0.9 kg) at birth, for the first 2 months the piglets will stay hidden while the sow is foraging. As they get older and more mobile, the sow and her offspring will join forces with their family group. The piglets often engage in play and will chase eash other and even toss and retrieve objects. The young stay with their family for about a year, although some females may stay with their mothers permanently. Juvenile males are often harassed by the family boar who uses his sturdy snout to push them away from his favored wallowing and foraging areas.
3.3-5 ft. (100-150 cm) head and body length and 1.8-2.6 ft. (55-80 cm) tall at the shoulder.
101-286 lbs (46 to 130 kg) with the males larger than the females.
Red river hogs are omnivores and in the wild, eat a variety of foods including grass, berries, insects and carrion. As with other pigs, the red river hogs use their strong snout to root around in the ground in search of food. At the Zoo the hogs are offered a base diet of biscuits specifically formulated for swine. The enrichment portion of the diet includes a variety of root vegetables as well as grass hay. Additionally, the animals are offered different vegetables each day.
The red river hog has a wide, but patchy, distribution extending from Senegal in the west, throughout the Guinea-Congo forest, as far east as the Albertine Rift, on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
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