Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Red River Hog

Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Genus and Species: Potamochoerus porcus

Physical Description

The red river hog has coarse, ruddy hair all over its body with a crest of white hair running along its spine. Its face and legs are dark brown or black, with a trim of white on its cheeks and around its eyes. Both males and females have tusks, though the male’s tusks are much larger.

These pigs have exceptional sight, smell, and hearing for locating food.

Geographic Distribution

The red river hog is found all throughout the rainforests, wet savannas, and waterways of western and central Africa.


The IUCN lists red river hogs as a species of least concern due to their large range and estimated population size. However, over-hunting is a concern for the species.


Red river hogs are omnivorous and eat a wide range of foods. They have been observed eating roots, bulbs, fruit, grass, small animals, eggs, insects and even carcasses of other animals.


Red river hogs give birth to an average of two to four piglets after a gestation of 122 days. Females separate from their sounder and build a nest in preparation for birth. Born weighing two pounds, the piglets stay hidden in tall grasses or brush while their mother forages. As they grow, the sow and the piglets rejoin the family group. Females typically stay with their natal group, while the males are forced out by the dominant boar when they’re about a year old.

Life Span

Red river hogs can live up to a maximum of 22 years of age.


Like most pig species, the red river hog is very social, living in groups of six to 20 individuals. Each group is called a sounder and contains one boar (adult male), several sows (females), and several juveniles. Mainly nocturnal, these hogs rest during the day in burrows, coming out at night to eat roots, vegetation, and insects.

Fun Facts

Male red river hogs fight by butting heads and whipping each other with their tails.

Red river hogs fluff out their face hair when threatened. This makes them look larger and more threatening to the enemy.