Giant Forest Hog


Scientific name

Hylochoerus meinertzhageni

Global distribution

Forest zone from Guinea Bussau to southwestern Ethiopia and northern Tanzania. Largest pigs found in the East, smaller animals occur in the west.


Tropical Africa over a variety of environments from subalpine, bamboo groves, montane to lowland swamp forests, galleries, forest savannah, mosaics, woodland savannahs and post-cultivation thickets.

Conservation status

Vulnerable for a subspecies H. meinertzhageni ivoriensis

Physical characteristics

Body size


1,300 to 2,100 mm long. Shoulder height is 762 1,100 mm.


250 to 300 kg


Skin is blackish gray. The skin in front of each eye and on the upper part of the cheek below the eye is almost naked.


The pelage is long, coarse and black and may become sparse with age.

The face, ears and lower legs are free of hair.

Below and behind each eye there are two movable cutaneous thickenings or facial excrescences.

Piglet colouring

Stripped piglets


300-400 mm

Side view - female

Face view

Side view mother with piglets

Anatomical points


Large skull contains a large depression in the roof.

The nose is very prominent


Preorbital gland is present, marked externally by a slit on the naked area of the face in front of each eye.

Dental formulae

( i 3/3, c 1/1, pm 4/4, m 3/3) x 2 = 44

Canines are set horizontally.


Behaviour points

Maturing age

18 months of age

Mating ritual

Single male with a sounder

Seasonal breeding

Breeding is continuous. Mating peaks in East Africa in the latter part of the rainy season.

Oestrus period


Gestation period

151 days

Litter size and lactation

2-4 piglets. Born into nest of long grass



Weaning age

9 weeks of age

Family groups

Travels in sounders of 20 individuals. Covering 10 sq km and may be dominated by one male. Group composed on female and her offspring. Males may be very aggressive when defending the sounder

Cooling behaviour

Wallows in mud wallows and swamp areas

Sleeping area

Ideally under fallen tree from a scoop of bare earth.

Peak activity

Peak activity is from dusk to nearly midnight. As daytime temperature drops may become more active during the day.


Designs paths connecting sleeping areas with latrines, grazing areas and mineral licks.


Feeds mainly on short grass, sedges, shrubs and herbaceous growth.

Does not root or dig extensively





Giant Forest Hogs can live 18 years.