Bushpigs are members of the pig family. They resemble the domestic pig and can be identified by their blunt, muscular snouts, small eyes, pointed, tufted ears, and buckled toes. Their color varies from reddish brown to dark brown and becomes darker with age. Both sexes have a lighter-colored mane which bristles when the animal becomes agitated. The upper parts of the face and ears are also lighter in color. Their sharp tusks are fairly short and inconspicuous. Males in this species are usually larger than females.
Bushpigs are found in East and Southern Africa. They are distributed over a wide range, and occurs from Ethiopia and Somalia to eastern and southern DR Congo and southwards to Cape and KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa. They also occur on Madagascar and possibly the Comoros archipelago. Bushpigs live in forests, woodland, riverine vegetation, and reedbeds.
Bushpigs are social animals that live in sounders of up to 12 members. A typical group will consist of a dominant male and a dominant female, with other females and juveniles accounting for the rest. Bushpigs are nocturnal and very territorial. They can be very aggressive, especially when they have young. Bushpigs find shelter in dense vegetation, and build nests during rains or periods of cold. Their favorite activity is wallowing; they like to roll about or lie in mud or dust. Another Interesting behavior of Bushpigs is that they often follow monkeys which feed on fruits and pick up those uneaten fruits that fall to the ground. They grunt softly while foraging, and make a long, resonant growl as an alarm call.
Bushpigs have a polygynous mating system in which one male mates with multiple females. Males usually compete to get access to females by butting heads and having forehead shoving matches. The breeding season takes place in May and June. Before giving birth the female leaves the group to a sheltered nest or hollow where three to four piglets are born after a gestation period of approximately four months. After birth, the female will nurse her young for 2-4 months. Males play an active role in the rearing and defense of the piglets and the dominant male leads and guards the young to feeding areas. Piglets usually stay with their parents within 6 months after birth and reach sexual maturity at 18-21 months of age.
There are no major threats to Bushpigs at present. However, they may suffer locally from large-scale habitat destruction. They are also hunted sometimes for crop protection and local consumption.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Bushpig total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.
Bushpigs eat fruits and may play an important role as dispersers of seeds on the forest floor. They are also important prey animals for local predators.