Red river hogs give birth to five piglets
Mathilda and Marie have been quite busy for the last eight weeks. The two red river hog mums have given birth to a total of five piglets. Now that the time has come for the first family excursion into the outdoor enclosure, the piglets have emerged into the open for visitors to see.
The atmosphere is bustling in the red river hog’s autumnal enclosure: this year the tropical pig species gave birth to five piglets at Hellabrunn Zoo. Earlier this week, the piglets were allowed to venture outside for the first time, during which Robi, Rily and Rembrand, the three baby boars born on 1 August, followed their mum Mathilda at every turn. Mum Marie emerged shortly after with the twins Rusty and Ronja. As the group explored the outdoor enclosure, covered in colourful autumn foliage, it was clear to see that the two mums and the five piglets get along well with each other. The father of the five piglets is Leopold.
After a gestation period of 120 to 130 days, red river hogs typically produce one to six piglets in a litter. The newborn are dark brown with watermelon-like yellow stripes, which they lose as they get older. The bond between the mum and her young is very close in early months, during which time one can observe that the little ones often remain hidden under the mum's belly. The piglets will reach sexual maturity at about two to three years.
Apart from the reddish brown fur, which gives the red river hog its name, other distinguishing features include the tufted white stripe that runs along its spine and the black and white tufts on the ears. Red river hogs live in Central and West Africa, both in the savannahs, as well as the marshes and forests, and are omnivorous. They are most active at night and live in close-knit familial groups called sounders.
Hellabrunn Zoo is a member of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). The conservation programme coordinates the breeding of the species kept in zoos across Europe.