Giant Forest Hog

The largest of the African pigs, the giant forest hog has a huge elongate head, a heavy body and rather long legs for its family. Its muzzle is broad, and there are glandular swellings in the skin under its eyes and across its cheeks. Males are bigger and heavier than females. These large, formidable members of the pig family can fight ferociously, with boars using their tusks to devastating effect if challenged.

Giant forest hogs live in well-defined territories, tracking along the same paths each day. They will wallow in muddy areas, which keeps their skin in good condition. Giant forest hogs live in family groups of up to 12, and pairs remain together for life. They wander over a large, but undefined range, feeding on grass, plants, leaves, buds, roots, berries and fruit. Mostly active at night and in the morning, giant forest hogs rest during the heat of the day in dense vegetation. Members of the herd will keep in touch in the forest by grunts and other vocalizations. Piglets are born before the rainy season, with a pregnant sow creating a covered nest where she can give birth. The new family group rejoins the herd about a week later. The female gives birth to 1 to 4 young, sometimes up to 8, after a gestation period of 4 to 4 1/2 months.

Distribution: Occurs in Africa, from Guinea to Ghana, southeastern Nigeria to southwestern Sudan and Uganda, south to the Congo. Also found in Ethiopia south to Tanzania.

Habitat: Forest, thickets.

Weight: 100 - 275 kg (220 - 606 lb).

Length: 155 - 255 cm (61 - 100 in), including tail; up to 110 cm (43 in) tall.

Maturity: Females 1 year; males 3 - 4 years.

Gestation Period: 155 - 175 days; weaning occurs 6.5 - 8 months later.

Breeding: Usually 2 - 6, but can be as many as 11.

Diet: Omnivorous, eating vegetation, fruit, roots and carrion.

Lifespan: Up to 12 years.

Skull structure

A clear depression, large enough to accommodate a man’s fist, lies between the small ears.

Short tusks

The short tusks are modified lower canines, which rub against the longer tusks, keeping them sharp.

Warts

These swollen areas are present beneath the eyes of boars.

Long tusks

Formed from the upper canine teeth, the long tusks grow backwards and can measure up to 35 cm (14 in) long.

PROTECTIVE PARENTS

If a sow senses danger, giant forest hogs calls to her piglets, who will immediately lie down and freeze on the ground.

Gallery of Giant Forest Hog