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The pigs

These piglets are red river hogs or, as Camera Trap Codger called them in German,  “Pinselohrschwein.” The scientific name is Potamochoerus porcus. The genus name is derived from the Greek words for river (“Potamos”) and pig (“Khoirus”). The species name is the Latin name for the word pig (“porcus.)

I figured that a lot of my readers would think them some form of Eurasian wild boar.  Pure European wild boars are born with these stripes, and some of the hybrid feral stock in the US are born this color.

However, the ears give the identity of these piglets away.

As adults, they will lose these stripes. Long tassels will grow on their ears. They will get quite shaggy, and a white dorsal stripe will appear. The hair on this dorsal stripe can be raised.  Their faces already have the distinct masking that will become even more obvious once their muzzles become shaggy.

Red river hogs as adults.

The stripes on the piglets are camouflage. The sows have them in dense thickets, and if a predator comes by, the piglets remain motionless. The stripes break up their outlines in the leaf litter, and many predators walk past them.

As adults, they can raise the hair on their white dorsal stripes to make themselves appear larger. They can also swim and run from predators.

These animals are native to Central and West Africa, where they frequent forests, riparian areas, and savannas.  Another species in the genus Potamochoerus is the bush pig, which lives in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Historically, the red river hog was considered a form of the bush pig. However, they are now considered separate species.

The two animals do interbreed, and there is a definite progression from bush type animals to red river hog type animals. It is still possible that these animal represent a still possible that these animals represent a single species.

And you thought wolf taxonomy was bad!

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