Red river hogs are wild members of the pig family that live in Africa. They have striking orange to reddish-brown fur, with black legs and a tufted white stripe along the spine. Adults have white markings around the eyes and on the cheeks and jaws; the rest of the muzzle and face are a contrasting black. The fur on the jaw and the flanks is longer than that on the body, with the males having especially prominent facial whiskers. The entire body of Red river hogs is covered with hair, with no bare skin visible. Males are slightly larger than females and have conical protuberances on either side of the snout and small, sharp tusks. These facial protuberances are bony and probably protect the male's face during head-to-head combat with other males.
Red river hogs are found in western and central Africa. They range from the Congo area and the Gambia to the eastern Congo, southwards to the Kasai and the Congo River. Red river hogs live in rainforests, wet dense savannas, and forested valleys, and near rivers, lakes, and marshes.
Red river hogs are primarily nocturnal and spend most of the time searching for food. They use their large muzzle to snuffle about in the soil in search of food, as well as scraping the ground with their tusks and fore-feet. They also often follow chimpanzees in search of dropped fruit. Red river hogs live in small groups that consist of six to ten animals, composed of a single adult male, and a number of adult females and their young. However, much larger groups, with over 30 individuals can also occur, especially in favorable habitats. Red river hogs are territorial and males defend their harem aggressively against predators. The favorite activity of these animals is wallowing in muddy ponds and streams. They are also good swimmers and fast runners. Red river hogs communicate almost continuously with grunts and squeals with a repertoire that can signal alarm, distress, or passive contact.
Red river hogs are monogamous, where both the mother and dominant male of the small family group take care and protect their young. These animals breed from September to April, with the peak during the wet season from November to February. Gestation lasts around 120 days. The mother constructs a nest from dead leaves and dry grass before giving birth to a litter of up to 6 piglets, with 3-4 being most common. The piglets weigh 650 to 900 g (23 to 32 oz) at birth and are initially dark brown with yellowish stripes and spots. They are weaned after about 4 months, and develop the plain reddish adult coat by about 6 months; the dark facial markings do not appear until they reach adulthood at about 2 years of age. Red river hogs become reproductively mature at 3 years of age.
The biggest threat to Red river hogs is hunting as these animals are one of the primary prey species harvested for commercial purposes within the bushmeat trade in most of Central Africa. In some countries, Red river hogs cause damage to agricultural crops, and for this reason, they are persecuted by farmers. Another threat to these animals is the loss of their habitat, which also leads to overhunting.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Red river hog total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.