Monday, May 13, 2013

Bushpigs - Red Pigs from Africa

This nocturnal pig often knocks down small trees for their fruit...

Bushpigs are close relatives of the European wild boar, to which they bear a general resemblance.  Their hide, when clean, is quite a vivid red color - especially the male.  A white median line runs along the backbone from the head to the base of the tail.  The snout and face are light grey, almost white, and the top of the head and the ears, which end in long tufts of white hair, are black.

Bushpigs are quite common in Africa (the natives call 'em Red Pigs) and are found in wooded savanna country and forests.  It would be pointless looking for a bushpig at any respectable distance from water, since their lifestyle almost totally depends on the presence of lakes and rivers.  Bushpigs lead an amphibious sort of life among the wide expanses of reeds and rushes which grow on marshy ground - sort of like the hippopotamus.

Bushpigs, African Red Pigs or whatever you want to call them, are nocturnal creatures, for the most part, which is why they are rarely seen during the daytime.  They pass the daylight hours well camouflaged in their swampy hide-outs, and will lie in the mud for hours on end, as the mud acts as a good protection from the heat and the insects.   They live in small herds, usually consisting of one adult male, several females and a number of young.  The herd's social organization is identical to that of a wild boar herd.
The male regularly rubs himself against trees to mark his territory.  The female gives birth to her litter in a specially made snuggery of leaves in some well-hidden place.

Bushpigs are vegetarians for the most part, as roots and fruit form a large part of their diet in the wild albeit they have been known to ravage crops like potatoes, corn, tomatoes, etc., which is why some farmers consider them to be a pest.  These Red Pigs from Africa are also partial to eggs and meat - when the opportunity presents itself, which is why they are often labeled as omnivorous creatures. They are a significant nuisance in the agricultural regions of South Africa, and are hunted fairly extensively. However, the population of bushpigs in the farming areas continues to grow despite the hunting efforts, due to the largely inaccessible terrain, abundance of food, lack of predators, and their rapid ability to adapt to hunting methods.


Image Credit: http://www.olsvik.info/Diverse/Reiser/After_dark.htm [link is no longer valid]

Interesting link I found while searching for images of this nocturnal pig:
"Mysterious 'Dog-Headed Pig Monster' Terrorizes Africa" [link is no longer active]

---End of Post "Bushpigs - Red Pigs from Africa"

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