Red River Hog

Meet Pipkin, Acorn and Big Wig, the African red river hogs at the El Paso Zoo!

The El Paso Zoo is home to three male red river hogs.

The red river hog has coarse, ruddy hair all over its body with a crest of white hair running along its spine. Its face and legs are dark brown or black, with a trim of white on its cheeks and around its eyes. Both males and females have tusks, though the male’s tusks are much larger. Their snout is elongated with two well-developed warts in older males. The fur on the jaw and the flanks is longer than on the body. Adult hogs weigh 100 to 285 lbs.

The red river hog is very social, and live in groups called a sounder. A family sounder group usually contain contains one boar (adult male), several sows (females), and several juveniles. Male red river hogs are called “boars” and females are called “sows”. Mainly nocturnal, these hogs rest during the day in burrows, coming out at night to eat roots, vegetation, and insects.

At the El Paso Zoo, the red river hogs live in a bachelor group. Their favorite treat is peanuts. 

The IUCN lists red river hogs as a species of least concern due to their large range and estimated population size. However, over-hunting is a concern for the species.

Red river hogs thrive in forests and in savannas, swamps, and steppes with plentiful shelter and enough rain to support plant growth throughout the year and to keep the ground soft in Central and South Africa.

Red river hogs are opportunistic eaters. They eat roots, bulbs, fallen fruit, invertebrates, and small animals such as reptiles and birds. At the El Paso Zoo, the hogs eat a blend of greens, vegetables and fruits in addition to specially formulated pellets. 


  • Red river hogs do not live in a red river. Instead, their reddish brown fur and the fact that they often wade through water gives them their common name.
  • These pigs have exceptional sight, smell, and hearing for locating food
  • Their tusks work like garden hoes to help them dig up roots, insects, and other food from beneath the ground.
  • Both the mother and dominant male care for piglets.