Giant Forest Hog

Giant Forest Hog

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Hylochoerus meinertzhageni
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
5-18 yrs
WEIGHT
100-275 kg
HEIGHT
0.75-1 m
LENGTH
1.3-2 m

Giant forest hogs are considered the largest wild member of the pig family. They have extensive hairs on their body, which become less pronounced with age. They are mostly black in color on the surface, though hairs nearest the skin are a deep orange color. The ears are large and pointy, and the tusks of a male may reach a length of 36 centimeters. Females in this species are generally smaller than males.

Video

Distribution

Giant forest hogs occur in the west and central Africa, where they are largely restricted to the Guinean and Congolese forests. They also occur more locally in humid highlands of the Rwenzori Mountains and as far east as Mount Kenya and the Ethiopian Highlands. They are mainly found in forest-grassland mosaics, but can also be seen in wooded savanna and subalpine habitats. These animals are unable to cope with low humidity or prolonged exposure to the sun, and that's why avoid arid regions and habitats devoid of dense cover.

Giant Forest Hog habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Giant forest hogs live in herds (sounders) of up to 20 animals consisting of females and their offspring, but usually also including a single old male. They are usually nocturnal, but in cold periods, they are more commonly seen during daylight hours. They may also be diurnal in regions where protected from humans. In safe areas, where Giant forest hogs are not hunted, they stay active for many hours and may travel up to 8-12 km per day. They will feed in the open, travel between pastures, sleeping areas, water holes, wallows and rubbing places, latrines, and mineral licks which are connected by paths through the underbrush. When threatened by their main predators such as hyena and leopard, piglets freeze at the sound of an alarm grunt and adults will surround them in order to defend.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Giant forest hogs are mainly herbivores, but also scavenge. They feed on grasses, leaves, sedges, and herbage.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
February-April, August-October
PREGNANCY DURATION
151 days
BABY CARRYING
2-11 piglets
INDEPENDENT AGE
9 weeks
FEMALE NAME
sow
MALE NAME
boar
BABY NAME
piglet, shoat

Little is known about the mating system in Giant forest hogs. They breed from February to April and August to October. Females leave the sounder before giving birth and return with the piglets about a week after parturition. The gestation period lasts around 151 days after which 2-11 piglets are born. All members of the sounder protect the piglets, and all females can nurse them. Piglets are weaned when they are 9 weeks old and reach reproductive maturity at 18 months of age.

Population

Population threats

Giant forest hogs are threatened by the deforestation of their habitat and buy hunting for food. These and other and other forms of human disturbance have led to the local decrease or even extinction of populations. Diseases and parasites transmission may also pose a big threat to this species.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Giant forest hog total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.

References

1. Giant Forest Hog on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_forest_hog
2. Giant Forest Hog on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/41769/100471546

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