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Pigs: Suidae

Forest Hog (hylochoerus Meinertzhageni): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Forest hogs measure 51 to 83 inches (130 to 210 centimeters) in length and stand anywhere from 30 to 43 inches (76 to 110 centimeters) high. Males weigh from 319 to 606 pounds (145 to 275 kilograms) while females weigh 286 to 449 pounds (130 to 204 kilograms). Their skin is gray to blackish gray and is sparsely covered with long, coarse hairs. Tusks are around 12 inches (30 centimeters) or shorter.

Geographic range: Western, central, and eastern tropical Africa.

Habitat: Forest hogs live in forests of all kinds up to altitudes of 12,500 feet (3,800 meters). They require a permanent water source and prefer thick vegetation that does not grow too high to easily reach.

Forest hogs are active mainly at night, though they come out during the day if humans are not around. They eat mostly grass. (David Madison/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Forest hogs eat mainly grass. They will eat carrion and eggs occasionally. This species also eats dung, feces.

Behavior and reproduction: Forest hogs are active mostly at night, though they will come out during daylight if humans are not around. The social group is made up of one male, several adult females, and offspring. Home ranges overlap, and each has a number of paths leading to feeding sites, mineral licks, and water holes. Hyenas are the primary predators.

Mating occurs most often towards the end of a rainy season, and pairs do not bond. After 151 days of pregnancy, sows give birth to a litter of two to four piglets, but sometimes as many as eleven. Piglets remain in thick cover for one week and then stay with the sow. Young are weaned, no longer drink mother's milk, at nine weeks.

Forest hogs and people: Forest hogs are hunted for their meat. Some tribes use the hides for war shields. Others believe that killing the forest hog brings bad luck.

Conservation status: Forest hogs are not threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsPigs: Suidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Pigs And People, Conservation Status, Forest Hog (hylochoerus Meinertzhageni): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET