Red River Hog

Potamochoerus porcus

Order: Artiodactyla

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

  • An enclosure that is proof against extensive rooting and general destruction. No exposed or buried pipes or wires.
  • Square footage is important as this is a terrestrial animal.
  • Some like spacious caves or overhangs.
  • Heat in cool temperatures.
  • May or may not enjoy pools/mud wallows.

Diet Requirements

  • Herbivore pellets, fresh produce of all types. They’re pigs, they’ll pretty much eat anything – just get veterinary approval. Some enjoy hay as well.

Veterinary Concerns

  • Overgrown hooves and teeth
  • Medicines can be hard to give. Pills may be given in such substances as banana, peanut butter, banana and peanut butter rolled into a lettuce wrap and followed quickly with another piece of produce, canned dog food, or other soft fruits.

Notes on Enrichment & Training

  • Very intelligent and can learn many behaviors.
  • Additions of different substrate can be very fun; food items or smells can be mixed in.
  • They like hunting down live crickets and minnows.
  • With veterinary approval, beef shank bones with some meat will be thoroughly enjoyed.
  • Rocks, logs, boomer balls, spools, and other items to push and throw around are also fun.


Colony or Breeding Management


Individual Identification


Programmatic Information


Temperature Guidelines



Tips on Presentation

  • They are very strong when full grown, and finding a harness that they won’t break is difficult. They also are strong enough to pull a trainer over if they spook. Red river hogs do well in an off-leash situation where they are contained enough to not escape but are free to follow the trainer.
  • Many different behaviors can be learned, such as a wave, spin, rolling or pushing things with the snout, swishing tail side to side, backing up, etc.

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling

  • Red river hogs often do well with trainers they have known from a young age, but can be aggressive with strangers.
  • As mentioned above, working them off-lease is generally a good tactic, as they are not very controllable and harnesses are usually to weak to contain them. Inital training of young hogs can be done with a harness until they understand what is being asked of them, and then it can be phased out.


Potential Messaging

  • Many regions of Africa including the Congo and the island of Madagascar are extensively mined for coltan and other minerals that go into cell phones, tablets, and computers. Natural habitat, frequently in areas that are legally protected, is lost for wildlife, trees and topsoil scraped away. In addition, toxins from discarded electronics leach out of local landfills and contaminate waterways here at home. Please ask guests to think twice before replacing their electronic devices and to recycle their old ones when they do.

Acquisition Information


Comments from the Rating System

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat

Tropical and/or densely-vegetated regions of western and central Africa. Near rivers and swamps.

Physical Description

Babies are dark reddish brown with creamy to reddish spots and stripes and are super cute! They look like little watermelons. Adults are covered in rusty red hair, with cream or white hair on the belly, upper edge of ear and tufts on tips of ears, around the eyes and cheeks, and a bold white stripe of longer hair along the spine and tail. Blackish hair is found on the snout and feet. Hair is sparse on the underside of the belly. Ears are elongated much like Yoda’s. Tusks grow out of the lower jaw but do not extend visibly very far out of the mouth, although they can be 2-3 inches long.

Life Cycle




Threats and Conservation Status


Did you know…

  • A group of red river hogs is called a “sounder.”




Contributors and Citations

Top Photo: By Rufus46 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,