African Giant Forest Hog

(Genus: Hylochoerus)

The giant forest hog is mostly a herbivore but is known to scavenge meat when hungry. It is the Largest member of the wild pig family, The three species exist in largely the tropical belt from Western Africa to Ethiopia in eastern Africa. The eastern species is slightly larger than the central and western nominates.

Forest hogs prefer wooded areas and rainforest away from larger predators like lions, though they can sometimes be seen on savannah grasslands and marshy areas. Largely, nocturnal, they only appear in daylight when living in protected areas.

Appearance of the Giant Forest Hog

Adult males can measure from head to tip of their tails 1.55 to 2.55 m (5 ft in to 8 ft 4.7 in) and weigh 600 LB, 275 kg. In the pig family domestic species such as the Yorkshire pig grows bigger, at up to 1000 LB. The rump stands higher than the shoulders, longer thinner legs than most pig species allows it to run fast through the forest.

Giant hogs skin is dark gray with bristles standing almost erect on the back of their necks and heads. Large swollen growths below the eyes and smaller horns on either side distinguish it from the African Warthog. however, they can still be formidable weapons growing to a length of 35.9 centimetres (14.1 in). The western nominate is hardly larger than the African bush pig with a largest recorded weight of around 150 kg (330 lb).

African Giant Forest Hog
African Giant Forest Hog

Fantastic Facts About The Giant Forest Hog

  • The African giant forest hog, despite being on the other side of the world to domestic pigs, is susceptible to catching the same ailments like swine fever.
  • A ‘herd’ of African giant forest hogs is called a sounder.
  • The giant forest hog male is known to be extremely aggressive and will sometimes fight to the death with other males.
African Giant Forest Hog
African Giant Forest Hog

Family Life & Breeding

Giant forest hogs live in ‘sounders’ or ‘herds’ of under twenty hogs. Typically the sounder will consist of a dominant male, a few juveniles, a subordinate male or two, about four females and a few piglets. Males will fight for the dominant position. The loser will often flee and leave the family for good.

The female hog will leave the group for about a week when she is close to giving birth and then will return with the fresh offspring. The piglets are able to suckle milk from all the females.

The giant hogs travel in tight groups through the forest, looking for mud pools. As they don’t sweat forest hogs rely on mud pools and to cool down. Scientists will often hide cameras near pools for the best chance of filming the elusive hogs.

African Giant Forest Hog Map
Giant Forest Hog Map of Habitat

Conservation Status of the Giant Forest Hog

The African giant forest hog is currently listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. Even in nature reserves like the Ugandan Toro-Semiliky WR the giant boar is suffering from poaching. Deforestation and the encroachment of humans on their natural land is diminishing the small population further.

African Giant Forest Hog Endangered Status
Giant forest Boar is on The ICUN Red List

While the hog in the the Congo basin is presumed not to be in serious decline, the eastern subspecies of giant forest hog is one of the most endangered hogs in the world. Only living in two or three locations in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and perhaps South Sudan the species is down to a few hundred animals.

Q &A

What family are African giant Forest hogs classed in?

African giant forest hogs are in the Suidae family.

Are giant forest hogs found in low humidity habitat?

Giant forest hogs are found at higher altitude of 3,800 m (12,500 ft) as they don’t like too much sun.

Where do giant forest hogs live in West Africa?

Giant forest hogs live in tropical moist broadleaf forests of the Guinean and Congolese forests

Do giant forest hogs fight predators?

Male forest hogs are very aggressive and are known to chase hyenas from kills and attack without warning.

Do humans breed giant forest hogs?

Humans have often tamed giant forest hogs as pets

What is the main predator of giant forest hogs?

Large leopards and humans are the giant forest hogs main predators, though in open savannah lions will prey on hogs too.

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