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Three Little Pigs

If you had to give out an award for the prettiest of all pigs, the Red River Hog would be a top contender. While the little hoglets don't have the orange-red fur of their parents, they do sport fashion forward camouflage stripes. These three little pigs were born at the LA Zoo at the end of May. Definitely worth a visit if you live in the area. On a sidenote, I think the music in the video is perfectly suited for piggy adventuring.

Red river hogs la zoo 2

Red river hoglets la zoo 1Photo credits: Tad Motoyama / LA Zoo

L.A.Zoo Announces Birth of Red River Hogs

The Los Angeles Zoo is proud to announce that three red river hogs were born here on April 22, 2010.  This litter, one male and two females, marks the fourth litter for these parents.  The piglets and their parents are currently exploring their exhibit, located in the Zoo’s Africa section.  

“The piglets are being well taken care of by their parents,” said Curator of Mammals Jeff Holland.  “The father is very attentive to the piglets and will escort them around the enclosure and watch over them until mom is ready to feed them.”

At birth red river hogs weigh about two pounds.  When full grown, they’ll weigh between 120 and 264 pounds and reach three to five feet in length.  Males grow to be slightly larger than females and males have a large bony protuberance on each side of their snout. 

One of the smallest species of pigs, red river hogs hail from sub-Saharan Africa. These hogs are often described as the prettiest of the “wild swine,” with red hair, a black and white face mask and a white mane reaching from neck to tail.  Until about three months of age, piglets are brown with yellowish stripes.  This coloring serves as effective camouflage.  

From roots, to farm grown crops, to wild fruit and vegetables, these hogs don’t have a discerning pallet.  The ultimate opportunistic eaters, they’ll seize the chance to feast on small birds, mammals and even amphibians.  They’ll also consume carrion, regardless of its state of decomposition.  

Red river hogs are predominately nocturnal.  However, they will come out during the day when they are afforded protection from their enemies; among which are humans, leopards, lions, hyenas, eagles and rock pythons.  

Red river hogs are good swimmers and fast runners.  They wallow in mud and are highly vocal animals that communicate incessantly with squeaks, squeals and grunts.  

The L.A. Zoo has a large collection of wild swine including the Visayan warty pig and babirusa.  The Zoo is also home to the pigs’ cousin, the Chacoan peccary.  Although peccaries look smilar to pigs, they belong to a different taxonomic group than the true pigs of the Old World.  In peccaries, the tusks point downward as opposed to upward.  They have 38 teeth instead of either 34 or 44 like swine.