Potamochoerus - Red River Hog and the African Bush Pig


Scientific name

Potamochoerus porcus Red River Hog (RRH)

Potamochoerus larvatus African Bush Pig (ABP)

Some dispute that these two are separate species.

Global distribution


Southern Bush Pig Ethiopia to Angola and eastern South Africa. Madagascar.

Red River Hog Forest zone from Senegal to Northern and Eastern Zaire.


RRH-Wide range of habitats lowland rainforest, gallery forest, dry forest, savanna woodland, mixed scrub and cultivated areas.

ABP- Forests, riverines, montane habitat with dense cover

When not active, they shelter in dense vegetation and may construct bad weather nests during cold and wet spells.

Conservation status

Potamochoerus larvatus - Vulnerable

Physical characteristics

Body size


Head and body length 1,000 to 1,500 mm

Shoulder height 585 - 965 mm


Weight is 46-130 kg


RRH - Bright russet orange with a white dorsal line and long ear tufts

ABP Varies light red to brown or black, sometimes with a lot of intermingled hairs.

Piglet colouring

Stripped piglets


Tail length is 300-432 mm


Upper tusk 76 mm point downwards and wear against the lower ones

Lower tusk 165-90 mm


Male has warts in front of the eye, which although they protrude 40 mm, frequently are not conspicuous as they are concealed by facial hair.

Red River Hog Potamochoerus porcus

Male side view

Male rear view

Male and female face view

Female side view

Detail of ears

Southern Bush Pig - Potamochoerus larvatus koiropotamus

Side view

Male face view

Rear view

Warts on the face arrow

Red River Hog




Anatomical points





Dental formulae

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

(full mammalian dentition)

The upper incisors decrease in size from the first to the third and the lower incisors are long, narrow, set closely together and almost horizontal in position. The incisors and the canines have sharp lateral edges. The large upper canines grow outward and backward, tending to form a complete circle. These tusks are most prominent in males. The check teeth are cuspidate and the upper premolars are simpler than the molars in structure. With age, the enamel wears away and all the teeth disappear, except the canines and back molars.

Behaviour points

Maturing age

Female sexual maturity around 3 years of age.

Mating ritual

Evidence of monogamous mating with the male playing an active role in the rearing and defense of the young

Seasonal breeding

Seasonal, piglets being born more frequently towards the end of the dry season or the onset of the rainy season.

South Africa P. larvatus November to February peak birth period (warm, wet summer).

Give birth annually

Gestation period

120 days 4 months


Females construct a 3 metre and 1 metre deep nest

Litter size and lactation

One to eight (average 3-4)

Piglet birth weights

700-800 grams

Family groups

9-15 individuals in a sounder. May travel in up to 60 individuals. The immature to adult ratio is generally 2:1

Peak activity




Home ranges of 3.8-10.1 sq km and population density of 0.3-0.5/sq km.


Omnivorous. Opportunistic predators and consume a range of invertebrates, small vertebrates and carrion





One specimen lived in captivity to 21 years and 7 months