Pigs & Warthogs

Red River Hoglets Born at Toronto Zoo

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Photo Credit: The Toronto Zoo

A pair of Red River Hogs was born at The Toronto Zoo on February 17, and the zoo announced their arrival on National Pig Day, March 1.

The two hoglets were born to mom Tisa and dad Sir Philip Pigglesworth III. The care team says Tisa is providing expert care for her babies. This is the first litter for both parents, and the third litter of Red River Hogs born in the zoo’s history.

Tisa and her hoglets are behind the scenes in a maternity den, so they can’t yet be seen by zoo visitors. The hoglets spend the day nursing and exploring the den.

Red River Hogs are one of the most colorful members of the Pig family. They are native to western and central Africa, where they search for roots and tubers on the forest floor. As their name suggests, these Hogs often live near lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Red River Hogs live in small harems, with a single adult male and a few females with their young.

At this time, Red River Hogs are not under threat and populations are stable.


Nashville Zoo Welcomes Four Little Pigs

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the arrival of four Juliana Pigs. The Zoo welcomed three females (who were born in the same litter) and a male sired by the same father as the females.

These little pigs will stay in the Zoo’s “Critter Encounters”, so guests can interact with them, and they will also be trained to take leashed-walks throughout the Zoo. Other than during colder months where they will have access to a heated indoor area, they will be able to choose to be out and active or retreat into their house when they need to rest.

“We hope when guests interact with our Juliana Pigs they will be inspired to help other species of pigs that are declining in the wild once they see firsthand how intelligent and special pigs are,” said Megan Cohn, Nashville Zoo Contact Area Supervisor.

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4_46148675825_c33d9f6b26_kPhoto Credits: Becky Hardy/Nashville Zoo

Juliana Pigs' intelligence, along with their easy-going temperament and ability to get along with other animals and people, make them great ambassador animals allowing the public to get close and interact with a pig.

They also have an excellent sense of smell. A pig’s nose ends in a floating disk of cartilage attached to muscles, which makes it more sensitive than the human nose. The nose is also strengthened by a pre-nasal bone, which enhances the nose as a digging tool. Pigs are often trained for truffle & mushroom hunting, as well as recently used for law enforcement searches.

Domestic populations of pigs are stable, but some wild populations are endangered. Pigs in general are native to Europe and Asia, but were later introduced as domesticated animals and can now be found throughout the world.

Juliana Pigs (Sus domesticus) are a breed of domestic pig that originated in Europe through selective breeding of various types of pigs. Humans have been raising pigs for more than 9,000 years.

A mature Juliana Pig will weigh between 20-40lbs and be between 10-16" tall. This species does 95% percent of its growing during the first year and is considered an adult at two years. Juliana Pigs more closely resemble a small version of a feral pig than it does the Pot Belly pig.

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Chester Zoo Has ‘Colorful’ New Trio

1_!Stars in stripes! Trio of red river hoglets born at Chester Zoo (28)

A trio of Red River Hogs was recently born at Chester Zoo. The tiny triplets arrived to mum Mali on May 4, following a four-month-long pregnancy.

The piglets stayed safely tucked in their den, bonding with mum, for the first few weeks of life, but they can now be seen on-exhibit, frolicking in the sun. According to keepers, the piglets are yet-to-be-sexed and yet-to-be-named.

2_!Stars in stripes! Trio of red river hoglets born at Chester Zoo (14)

3_Stars in stripes! Trio of red river hoglets born at Chester Zoo (30)

4_!Stars in stripes! Trio of red river hoglets born at Chester Zoo (41)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Red River Hogs are instantly recognizable for their bright red fur, which helps them blend into their Sub-Saharan African habitat. This coloring has made the pigs renowned as being the world’s most colorful member of the pig family.

They are native to the swamps and forests of West and Central Africa, but hunting for their meat has led to a decline in numbers where they were once commonly found.

Sarah Roffe, team manager at the Zoo, said, “It’s early days, but the piglets are doing great so far. They’re so small at the moment and their coats are covered in spots and stripes, which will slowly start to fade after about six months when they’ll take on their more iconic rusty coloring.”

“The trio are sticking very close to mum Mali (age 9), but it’s great to see them spending time with dad Con-Fetti. In fact, they can often be seen enjoying a nap whilst sat on top of him.”

Sarah continued, “This is the pairings first set of triplets, so they’ll soon be a real handful for mum and dad as they become more adventurous and playful. It’s amazing to see the family of seven together!”

Conservationists at Chester Zoo are keen to develop a greater understanding of how to care for the species in conservation breeding programmes, should the worst happen to the species and they become extinct in the wild.

Red River Hogs (Potamochoerus porcus) are also known as "tufted pigs" due to the white whiskers and tufts found on their ears. They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

More great pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Chester Zoo Has ‘Colorful’ New Trio" »


Warthog Piglets Debut at Zoo Miami

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Four Warthog piglets, born June 20 at Zoo Miami, made their exhibit debut this week alongside their parents. At six weeks old, the piglets (one female and three males) explored the exhibit, rooted around in the soil, and tasted fresh vegetation under the watchful eyes of mom and dad.

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9Photo Credit: Ron Magill/Zoo Miami

Three-year-old mother Erica came from the Indianapolis Zoo and three-year-old father Beebop is from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This litter of piglets is the first for both parents and the second successful birth of Warthogs at Zoo Miami.

Warthogs are found through much of sub-Saharan Africa and skyrocketed to fame following the release of “The Lion King,” which starred a lovable Warthog named Pumba.

Warthogs use their large, powerful tusks to dig for roots, tubers, and grubs to eat. Males develop larger tusks than females and use their tusks in combat to establish dominance. The tusks also offer protection: Warthogs enter their burrows rear-first, allowing the tusks to face outward at the burrow entrance to deter predators.

The large facial bumps or “warts” are not warts at all. Instead, they are fatty growths which protect Warthogs’ faces from the tusks of other Warthogs during skirmishes.

Warthogs are fairly numerous across their range. They are not currently threatened, but some localized extinctions have been recorded due to overhunting or drought.

See more photos of the piglets below!

Continue reading "Warthog Piglets Debut at Zoo Miami" »


"Pocket-sized" Piglets Born at Chester Zoo

!Tiny trotters! Red river hog piglets born at Chester Zoo (4)Two “pocket-sized” Piglets have been born at Chester Zoo.  The tiny pair of Red River Hogs, which are as yet unsexed and unnamed, arrived on May 13 to first-time mother Mali, age 8, following a four-month-long pregnancy. 

Red River Hogs live in swamps and forests in western and central Africa and are said to be the most colorful member of the Pig family. They are also the smallest of all African pigs. 

!Tiny trotters! Red river hog piglets born at Chester Zoo (13)
!Tiny trotters! Red river hog piglets born at Chester Zoo (1)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo


Sarah Roffe, team manager, said, “We’re ever so pleased with our delightful duo and mum Mali is so far doing a fantastic job of caring for them. They’re only pocket-sized Piglets at the moment but they’re already full of personality and have bundles of energy.”

The Piglets will sport the spotted and striped coats of juveniles until they’re about six months old. At that time, they’ll take on the distinctive rusty coloring of adults.

Once common in their range, Red River Hogs are declining in some areas due to overhunting for their meat.

Continue reading ""Pocket-sized" Piglets Born at Chester Zoo" »


Wroclaw Welcomes Litter of Red River Hogs

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Zoo Wrocław is excited to announce the birth of a litter of Red River Hogs. Three piglets were born on April 3rd. The matriarch of the herd, and new mother, is Petunia. Petunia arrived at Zoo Wroclaw from Brooklyn, NYC, and her partner, Jumbo, arrived from France.

The Zoo is eager to find names for the new youngsters and is willing to accept any and all suggestions for names! Suggestions can be made to their social media page: https://www.facebook.com/wroclawskiezoo/ and their website: http://www.zoo.wroclaw.pl/  

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4_17796774_10155198544934719_2576291454719781431_nPhoto Credits: Zoo Wroclaw/Pawlik

The Red River Hog (Potamochoerus porcus) is a wild member of the pig family native to the Guinean and Congolian forests of Africa. It is rarely seen away from rainforests, and generally prefers areas near rivers or swamps.

Continue reading "Wroclaw Welcomes Litter of Red River Hogs" »


What's In a Name? Ask These Babirusa Piglets

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Ginger and Ivy, two rare Babirusa piglets born at the Audubon Zoo, recently made their public debut. The piglets are the third litter born at Audubon Zoo to mom Betty and dad Wrigley.

Born October 14, the piglets’ names have significance:  Ivy gets her name from the foliage which adorns the walls of the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field. The theme started with dad Wrigley and continued with the two of the newborns' siblings - Clark and Addison - who are named after two streets that intersect outside the ballpark.

The choice of Ginger is simpler: It's a favorite browse treat of Audubon Zoo's Babirusa family.

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Babirusapiglets5098Photo Credit:  Audubon Zoo



Audubon Zoo, which has produced eight Babirusa piglets since 2005, is one of the few facilities in the United States that exhibit this species.  The zoo participates in the Babirusa Species Survival Plan in partnership with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums members.

Babirusa are found primarily on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi north of Borneo. Even though Babirusa are a protected species, they are threatened in the wild due to illegal hunting and habitat loss.

Babirusa are omnivores and will eat fruits, nuts, leaves, small invertebrates, birds, and even turtles in the wild. Males typically have two sets of tusks, one on the lower jaw and one that grows from the top jaw through the top of the snout towards the head. Babirusa means "pig deer'' in the native Malay language. One theory posits that the Sulawesi people gave the Babirusa this moniker because its large canines are similar in appearance to deer antlers.

Like most pigs, Babirusa enjoy wallowing in mud, which helps protect their skin from insect bites and the tropical sun. Babirusa are excellent swimmers and very intelligent, social animals who enjoy interaction with animal care staff, particularly when training.

Continue reading "What's In a Name? Ask These Babirusa Piglets" »


Newborn Babirusa Caught on Camera

Babirusa piglet and mum Kendari (11)

Hidden cameras show a rare newborn Babirusa piglet snuggling with and nursing from its mother at the Chester Zoo in the video below.  Babirusas are one of the rarest pig species in the world.

The tiny male piglet, named Bukaan, was born to Kendari, age four, following a five-month-long pregnancy.  They have spent several months bonding behind the scenes and have only recently been released into their habitat.

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Babirusa piglet and mum Kendari (5)Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo



Babirusas live on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi where their numbers have plummeted to an estimated 5,000 individuals. The species was once common, but hunting for their meat and destruction of their habitat led to their disappearance from some areas of Sulawesi. 

Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at the zoo, said, “When Kendari’s new piglet grows up he will sport a face full of twisted tusks, a large wet snout, warts and will be almost completely hairless, just like his dad, Sausu. But looks aren’t everything! This species is incredibly special and he’s ever such as important new arrival.  Babirusas are under huge pressure in Sulawesi. They’re vulnerable to extinction and Kendari’s latest piglet is a significant addition to the world’s population.” 

Zoos serve an increasingly important role as species are put at risk in the wild.  Only a handful of zoos worldwide have successfully bred Babirusas, and the offspring will play a key role in the long term conservation of the species.  Chester Zoo also supports efforts in Indonesia to preserve these rare animals.

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“It’s the Great Pumpkin…!”

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Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns are indicative of the fall season…and Halloween.

Zoo Keepers work hard to keep their animals healthy and happy. Enrichment toys and activities are an important tool that Keepers utilize to help in that pursuit. Enrichment items encourage natural behavior and stimulate the senses…and what could be more stimulating, this time of year, than celebrating by tearing into a bright orange pumpkin!

Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

2_Red pandas Jung and Nima get into the Halloween spirit at Chester Zoo on Pumpkin Day

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Image 1: (Lynx) Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Muller

Image 2: “Red Pandas, Jung and Nima, get into the Halloween spirit”/ Chester Zoo

Image 3: (Snow leopard) Woodland Park Zoo

Image 4: (Amur Tiger) Woburn Safari Park

Image 5: Piglets-in-a-pumpkin/ Tierpark Berlin

Image 6: “Andean Bear, Bernie, tucks into honey-coated treats”/ Chester Zoo

Image 7: “Black Jaguar, Goshi, enjoys and early treat”/ Chester Zoo

Images 8, 9: Elephant Pumpkin Stomp/ Denver Zoo

Image 10: (Chimpanzee)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 11: (Bison)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 12: (Giraffe “Mpenzi”)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 13: (Hippo)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Image 14: (Tiger)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Image 15: (Maned Wolf)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

More adorable Halloween pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "“It’s the Great Pumpkin…!”" »


Endangered Piglets Born at Brevard Zoo

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On September 10, a 14-year-old Visayan Warty Pig, at Brevard Zoo, gave birth to two piglets.

The new mom, named Fancy, was born at San Diego Zoo but has spent most of her life at Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida. She currently shares her exhibit with two adult pigs: male, Pandan, and female, Makinna. Pandan is the father of the new piglets.

Because their exhibit is closed until next year for renovations, guests will not be able to view the piglets for several months. However, the Zoo promises to keep fans updated with plenty of pictures and videos on social media. The sex of the piglets is not known, and therefore, the duo has not been named.

“Zoo guests often mistake them for domestic pigs or wild boars,” said Michelle Smurl, Director of Animal Programs. “But they’re actually members of a distinct species on the brink of extinction.”

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3_160916015Photo Credits: Brevard Zoo

The Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons) is a species endemic to two of the Visayan Islands in the central Philippines.

They are threatened by habitat loss, hunting and conflicts with farmers. Hybridization with domestic pigs has caused further problems. Once found across six islands, populations are now believed to exist on only two. Visayan Warty Pigs are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Due to the small numbers of remaining species in the wild, little is known of their behaviors or characteristics outside of captivity.

The Visayan Warty Pig receives its name from the three pairs of fleshy "warts" present on their visage. Experts speculate that the reason for the warts is to assist as a defense against the tusks of rival pigs during fighting. The boars also grow stiff hair.

Visayan Warty Pigs tend to live in groups of four to six. Their diet mainly consists of: roots, tubers, and fruits that can be found in the forest. They may also eat cultivated crops. Since local farmers have cleared approximately 95% of their natural habitat, the propensity of the pigs to eat cultivated crops has risen dramatically. Also, land that is cleared for farming is often unproductive for a few years. Therefore, the food sources of the Visayan Warty Pig are extremely limited, a factor that has contributed significantly to the pig’s dwindling numbers.

Visayan Warty Piglets are often seen during the dry season, between the months of January and March, in their native habitat of the western Visayan Islands. The average number of piglets, per litter, is three to four.