Friday, October 15, 2010

RED RIVER HOGS

The picture that Mom took at the zoo.
The Red River Hog is another very interesting animal that Mom saw in the African part of the zoo when she went there last month.  As hogs go, I think it is cuter than most, mainly because of those funny little tufts on the ends of its ears.







I thought that this animal was called the Red River Hog because there was a Red River in Africa, and that is where this hog lived.  But when I did some in-depth research, I found out that I was wrong about this.  Which of course does not happen very often because usually I am right about things.  But anyway, what I learned was that these are red hogs that happen to like living near rivers.  And it doesn't matter which river.  They just like rivers and swampy places because when it is hot weather, they can get in the water and cool off.

Mostly the Red River Hog lives in the Congo area of Africa and also in western Africa, like in Gambia and Guinea and all those little countries around there.  Another name for the Red River Hog is Bush Pig, but what's confusing is that there is also a "Bushpig" that lives farther east, and it is a different species, even though people used to think all these pigs were the same species.

Red River Hogs can weigh anywhere between 99 and 250 pounds, which is a lot of pork!  The boars are bigger than the sows, and they have little sharp tusks.  Leopards like to eat Red River Hogs, and sometimes other carnivores eat them, too.





During the day, Red River Hogs mostly snooze in the brush in the rainforest someplace, because the rainforest is where they live.  Then they come out at night to find food.  And what they like to eat is almost anything!  Their favorite things to eat are roots, turnips, fruit, and grasses.  But they will also eat eggs, insects, lizards, and birds, if they can find them.  Also they eat dead animals and dead plants.

The hogs have a really good sense of smell, and they use their snouts to root around in the dirt and dig up yummy stuff to eat.  If they go to a farm, they can do a lot of damage to the crops, so for this reason, farmers do not like the hogs very much.  Sometimes the farmers try to kill off hogs that are bothering their crops, but this has not really hurt the hog population.

Red River Hogs live in groups of between 4 and 20 animals, with a boar as the Chief Hog.  The others in the group are sows and piglets.  Usually a sow will have between 3 and 6 piglets.  When they are about 6 months old, and it is time for the next litter to come along, the piglets are booted out of the family and have to live on their own until it's time for them to start making their own piglets.




The Red River Hogs can live for about 20 years in the wild.  Since they live in the same part of Africa where basenjis live, I am guessing that my distant cousins have seen these hogs and may even help their humans hunt for them.

I think the piglets are totally cute and they are probably really yummy, too, so I told Mom we should get some of our very own.  But she said if I wanted a Red River Hog piglet, she would just take me back to Africa and let me live with my basenji cousins there.  But I don't think I would want to do that, so I guess I won't be getting a piglet of my own.

2 comments:

  1. these hogs are soo cute when they are little

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