|A Southern Bush Pig (P. l. koirpotamu) at the San Diego Zoo|
( F. Cuvier, 1822)
The Bushpig (Potamochoerus larvatus) is a very hairy member of the pig family that lives in forest thickets, riverine vegetation and reedbeds close to water in Africa. They are mainly nocturnal and are seldom seen during the day. The Southern Bush Pig subspecies, Potamochoerus larvatus koirpotamus ranges from Ethiopia to Angola and south eastern Africa and is classed as vulnerable.
Bushpigs range in size from 60 to 85cm (24 – 33 in.) at the shoulder and 46 to 82kg (101-180 lbs) in weight. They resemble the domestic pig and are identified by the blunt, muscular snout, small eyes, and pointed, tufted ears. Their colour varies from reddish-brown to dark brown and becomes darker with age. Both sexes have a lighter coloured mane which bristles when the animal becomes agitated. The upper parts of the face and ears are also lighter in colour. Sharp tusks are not very long and are not conspicuous. Unlike the Warthog, the Bushpig runs with its tail down. Males are normally larger than females.
The Bushpig should not be confused with the Red River Hog, Potamochoerus porcus.
Bushpigs are quite social animals and are found in sounders of up to 12 members. A typical group will consist of a dominant male and a dominant female, with other females and juveniles accounting for the rest. Litters of 3-4 young are born in summer after a gestation period of ± 4 months. Bushpigs can be very aggressive, especially when they have young.
They are Omnivorous and their diet could include roots, crops, carrion, as well as newborn lambs. They grunt softly while foraging and make a long, resonant growl as an alarm call.
Still distributed over a relatively wide natural range, the bushpig occurs from Somalia to eastern and southern former Zaire and southwards to Cape Province and Natal in South Africa (Oliver, 1993), having probably been introduced on Madagascar, Comoro and Mayotte Islands (Wilson & Reeder, 1993).
Bushpig is also a derogatory term, used in Australia, to describe an uncouth or unattractive woman.