Red river hog

The red river hog gets its name from its ‘fox red’ coloured coat and the fact that likes to wallow in ponds and streams.

In the wild they are found throughout western and central Africa and love a good swamp but are equally at home in forests and thickets.

They are at their busiest at dusk or at night when they root about for their food, digging with their snout, looking for plants, roots, fruits and small animals…even dead ones!

Did you know that they actually have two sets of tusks? It’s true, but to look at them you wouldn’t think it. They are found in both the upper and lower jaw. The upper tusks are quite small and well hidden. The lower ones are razor sharp and can grow up to seven centimetres long.


Large populations of red river hogs actually live in protected areas and numbers are high. They’re also cared for by organisations, such as The Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, which are constantly working to try to prevent the killing of African wildlife for the bushmeat trade.

Our red river hogs are one of the European stud book programmes (ESBs) we belong to.

Red river hog questions and answers

Do they go by any other names?
Yes, they are also known as bush pigs.

I couldn’t see them outside at all when I visited Folly Farm?
Don’t worry, they are there. Red river hogs are mainly nocturnal so they are most active at night.

Do they ‘oink’ like normal pigs?
No they don’t. In fact, their call has been compared to that of a bassoon playing a single note. Very musical!

Do they live very long?
Up to 20 years.

Zoo Membership

We're proud to be members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Our membership means we share knowledge with leading zoos across the UK and Europe, and we learn from them too.