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Red River Hogs

Native to the forests and savannas of West and Central Africa, Red River Hogs are known for their striking appearance and unique behaviors. These hogs have distinctive reddish-brown fur with black-and-white markings, including a white stripe along their back and tufted ears. They have elongated snouts equipped with strong tusks, which they use for digging up roots, tubers, and other vegetation. Red River Hogs are social animals, typically living in small groups called sounders, consisting of females and their offspring.

Their coloration can vary greatly because there are 13 subspecies and coloration depends on the region they are from. Here at the Little Rock Zoo they are red with white stripes. Red river hogs can get up to 3-5 feet in length. Both sexes have tusks, however males have warts above their eyes and females do not.


They live in western and central Sub-Saharan Africa, Northern South Africa, and Madagascar. Red river hogs like primary and secondary forests, thickets in savannas, swamps, and steppes. They have also been known to gather around villages.


Social animals, red river hogs live in groups of up to eleven individuals, and even groups as large as 100 have been recorded! Small family groups include 3-6 hogs are the norm and are usually led by a dominant male. They will mark their territory by scraping tree trunks with their canines or tusks or using their feet and neck glands, or preorbital glands. They are most active at night and tend to spend their days in burrows among vegetation.

Little Rock Zoo is home to a pair of Red River hogs; Harry and Whittley.

  • Red river hogs are also known as “tufted pigs” due to their long whiskers and ear tufts.
  • Their main predators are lions, pythons, leopards, hyenas and humans!
  • If startled, red river hog piglets will ‘possum’ or ‘play dead’, but as they get older they tend to just run away!
  • They are fast runners and aren’t afraid of water, in fact they are really good swimmers.
  • They can live up to 20 years.

Red river hogs are quite common throughout their natural habitat, and have proven to withstand habitat change well. In fact, they have benefited from a decrease in natural predators because of the aforementioned habitat change. Humans are currently the greatest threat to red river hogs; this is one of the most hunted species in their native central Africa. Restrictions on hunting would help ensure the continued success of red river hogs throughout Africa. For now, they are present in many protected areas throughout their natural range. Please join our efforts to secure a future for this species by donating to our conservation fund.

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