Zoo & Aquarium News

Jackson Zoo Welcomes Red River Hog Piglets

The piglets weighed in at 5, 6 and 7 pounds at their one week check-up. They currently sport a striped brown and black coat, which will become a reddish brown color as they grow into adulthood. Their coloration helps them camouflage with the dappled sunlight that would come through the forest canopy.

Since the late December birth, the piglets have remained inside with mom, due to severe winter weather conditions. They will soon join their dad and two other siblings, Pickle and Weasley, in the outside exhibit as soon as the weather permits. With the prediction of warmer temperatures entering into the Jackson forecast, we can speculate this date to be as early as this weekend or next week. Of course this timeframe is contingent, and the decision will be made in the best interest for the animals.

It is not unusual for the zoo to experience animal births outside of the spring season. Red River Hogs usually breed between September-April, with a gestation period around 120 days. This is the second litter for parents Dill and Potter, and also the second litter born in 2014. Their keeper, Tori Hopkins described Potter as an exceptional mother.

“Potter is an amazing and protective mother! She is very vocal with the piglets and they enjoy exploring their indoor exhibit and burrowing in the hay next to mom,” Hopkins said.

In the attached picture: Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Michael Holifield and Zoo Keeper, Tori Hopkins, hold the piglets at their one-week checkup. The piglets were named Diddy, Pipsy and Bumper by their keeper, Tori.

Red River Hogs are found in forested areas of western Africa, mainly in the coastal countries of Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria. They generally prefer areas near rivers, streams, or swamps. They will live in family groups typically of 6-20 members, led by a dominant male, or boar. Mostly nocturnal, they search the forest floor for food, rooting for tubers and roots, as well as eating fruit, grasses, insects, and occasionally carrion.

Red River Hogs are listed as Least Concern through the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. There are no immediate major threats to red river hogs; however hunting has led to localized decline.

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