Thursday, November 29, 2012

Giant Forest Hog

Hylochoerus meinertzhageni
As a species, the Giant Forest Hog of Central Africa is considered to be the largest pig in the entire world. Its only rivals for this title are a handful of Wild Boar subspecies, but even if there is a bigger hog out there somewhere, a body length of nearly 7ft is nothing to sneeze at! (There are actually three different subspecies of the Forest Hogs themselves, with the easternmost being the largest.)

Giant Forest Hogs only live in a handful of African countries, and require humid, densely vegetated habitats. Because of their forest swelling nature, they were not first officially described until 1904, and even now they aren't especially well studied.

The Hogs live in family groups called "sounders" that normally contain one adult males, a handful of females, and their offspring.   Males will fight for breeding rights, charging at each other and ramming their heads together. These fights are occasionally fatal for one or even both parties. Though they do breed year round, most births take place around the rainy season.

Giant Forest Hogs are nocturnal and typically herbivorous-- they feed on different grasses and sedges, and will sometimes take eggs and carrion as well. And even though these Hogs are huge, they still have predators, especially the young ones. Hyenas and Jaguars are their biggest threats.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Central Africa
Size : Length up to 7ft (2.2m), Weight up to 610lbs (275kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Suidae -- Genus : Hylochoerus -- Species : H. meinertzhageni

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