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Hogs and Pigs

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Hogs and Pigs

Pigs - Family Suidae.

Photo © Castka / Shutterstock.

Hogs and pigs (Suidae), also known as suids, are a group of mammals that includes babirusas, pigs, warthogs, forest hogs, red river pigs, and bushpigs. The Family Suidae also includes the domestic pig, Sus scrofa. The Family Suidae is subdivided into eight genera containing a total of sixteen species of pigs.

Pigs are stout, medium-sized mammals that have a stocky torso, short legs, long head, and small pointed ears. Their eyes are often small and located high on the skull. Suids have distinct snouts, the tip of which consists of a round cartilaginous disk and terminal nostrils. The nasal disc is attached to muscles and this enables pig to move their nose as they sniff their way along the ground foraging for food. Suids have an acute sense of smell and a well-developed sense of hearing.

Members of the Family Suidae have four toes on each foot and are therefore classified within the Order Ariotactyla (even-toed ungulates). Suids walk on their middle two digits, the outside two digits are higher on the leg and therefore do not come into contact with the ground when walking.

Hogs and pigs range in size from the dainty Pygmy hog (Porcula salvania), which measures 58-66 cm and weighs 6-9 kg, to the cumbersome Giant Forest Hog (Hylochoerus meinertzhageni) which measures 130-210 cm and weighs in the range of 130-275 kg.

Many species of suids are omnivorous. They feed on a range of plants and animals including grass, leaves, roots, insects, worms, frogs or mice. Some species are more selective than others and remain entirely herbivorous.

Adult female suids and juveniles form groups known as sounders. Adult males either remain solitary or form small bachelor groups. Pigs are not usually territorial and exhibit agression between individuals during the mating season.

Classification:

 

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order Artiodactyla
  • Family: Suidae (pigs)
    The Family Suidae includes the following genera:
    • Genus: Babyrousa (babirusa)
    • Genus: Phacochoerus (warthogs)
    • Genus: Hylochoerus (forest hogs)
    • Genus: Potamochoerus (bushpig and red river hog)
    • Genus: Genus Sus (pigs)

 

Where to See:

Members of the Family Suidae once inhabited a native range that extended across Eurasia and Africa. Humans introduced domesticated pigs, derived from the species Sus scrofa, to areas throughout the world including North America, New Zealand and New Guinea. Fossil suids occur in the Oligocene in Europe and Asia and in the Miocene of Africa.

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