River-Hog - Encyclopedia

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RIVER-HOG, a sportsman's name for the African wild pigs of which the southern representative is known to the Boers as the bosch-vark ("bush-pig"). They constitute a genus, Potamochoerus, nearly allied to the typical pigs of the genus Sus (see SWINE), from which they are distinguishable by the presence in the males of a long horny ridge below the eye; while they are further characterized by their thick coat of bristly and often brightly coloured hair, and by tufts of long bristles at the tips of the elongated and pointed ears. The southern P. choeropotamus, of southern and east Africa, is typically a greyish-brown animal, but .one of its eastern representatives is orange-red. In north-east Africa occurs the allied P. johnstoni, while in Kordofan and Abyssinia this is in turn replaced by P. hassama. The most remarkable member of the group is, however, the red river-hog, P. porcus, which is a heavy, short-legged species remarkable for its bright red colour, the great length of the ear-tufts and the white rings round the eyes. It is a native of the great forest-tracts, extending from Senegambia, Liberia and Angola on the W., to Monbuttu in the E. Very noteworthy is the occurrence of a small yellow-haired representative of the group (P. larvatus) in Madagascar, which evidently must have reached its present habitat from the mainland. (R. L.*)

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