Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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African Red River Hog

Panthera porcus

African red river hogs may be the most colorful member of the pig family. Their name comes from their distinct red coats and favorite places to spend time, rivers and streams.

Range & Habitat

The red river hog lives in wooded valleys, wet savannahs with dense vegetation and rainforests of Western and Central Africa.

At the Zoo: Wildlife Trail

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Currently the wild population is decreasing. The African red river hog could potentially be threatened due to habitat loss and overhunting. These animals also may eat local crops which causes them to be hunted as pests.


In the Wild – roots, fruit, seeds, grasses, crops, insects, snails, small reptiles

At the Zoo – Specialized grain, hay, browse, fruit and vegetables

Life Span

In the Wild – 15 years; In Human Care – 20 years

Fun Facts about the African Red River Hog

  • Red River Hog piglets will play dead when they are startled. As they get older, the pigs will run away instead.
  • Red River Hogs use their wide muzzles and feet to dig and search for food in the soil.
  • The Red River Hog’s tail can grow to be as long as 18 inches.
  • The Red River Hog is unique in that it is the only wild hog native to Africa that shows no bare skin and is completely covered in hair.


Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, Red River hog. Information retrieved November 2019.

Animalia- All You Want to Know about Animals, Red River hog. Information retrieved November 2019.

Folly Farm, Red River hogs. Information retrieved November 2019. 

Reyna, R., Jori, F., Querouil, S. & Leus, K. 2016. Potamochoerus porcus (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41771A100469961. Downloaded on 02 December 2020.

Updated June 13, 2023
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