Wild pigs of the world

 

At present, 17 extant species of pig are recognized in the family Suidae. This is a species-rich Family, reflecting the evolutionary success, ecological versatility, and considering their endemic presence on a great number of islands, the extensive dispersal ability of pigs. Some of these species are highly threatened with very few remaining animals in the wild.

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What's so special about pigs?

Most people with even the smallest amount of taxonomic knowledge can readily identify any of the many suid species as pigs, with the snout disc being a giveaway. This morphological adaptation is related to rooting in the soil, which is exactly what other, generally less known species with similar features such as aardvarks and coatis use it for. Pigs are small to medium animals, varying in size between 58–66 cm in length, and 6–9 kg in weight in the case of the Pygmy Hog (Porcula salvania), to 130–210 cm and 130–275 kg in the Forest Hog (Hylochoerus meinertzhageni). They have large heads and short necks, with relatively small eyes and prominent ears. Suids are typically stockily built, have a bristly coat, and a short tail ending in a tassel.

Pigs and hogs occur in a great range of environments, from dense tropical rainforests in South-east Asia and Africa, to dry, open woodlands, grassland, and deserts. They survive in the icy colds of Siberia, but also thrive in hot areas. In fact, there seem to be few ecological conditions that pigs cannot cope with. 

In general Suidae are social animals. Females often live in large, natal family groups, and males tend to be solitary or monopolize a group of females. The Suidae are the only ungulates to commonly produce large litters of offspring; litters of 1–6 are normal, and some species, such as S. scrofa, may have up to 13 infants at a time. Infants of most species (all genera with the exception of Babyrousa, Hylochoerus, and Phacochoerus) are marked with horizontal stripes, which provide camouflage in forested environments.

Among broad mammal groups, pigs are usually rated 4th in overall intelligence, behind great apes, dolphins and elephants. They have sophisticated learning and problem solving abilities, and their intelligence has been likened to that of a 3 year-old human child.

With about two billion domestic pigs in the world, it is clear that the Suidae are an important component of our present day societies. Pigs and humans and their ancestors have probably closely interacted for much of their evolution. The cultural and economic role of domesticated pigs is significant in many parts of the world. Pigs are an integral part of the diets of humans in numerous cultures, and feature in other cultures as popular pets. Pigs mature faster than other domesticated ungulates, have larger litters, and can feed on human garbage, making them efficient and valuable parts of many agricultural systems.

African species

Forest hog - Nick Athanas.jpg

Forest hog

Hylochoerus meinertzhageni

Least Concern

Desert warthog - Yvonne A. de Jong & Tom

Desert warthog

Phacochoerus aethiopicus

Least Concern

Common warthog - Bernard Dupont.jpg

Common warthog

Phacochoerus africanus

Least Concern

Bushpig - Nik Borrow.jpg

Bushpig

Potamochoerus larvatus

Least Concern

Red river hog - Heather Paul.jpg

Red river hog

Potamochoerus porcus

Least Concern

Eurasian & Central Asian species

Pygmy hog - William Oliver.jpg

Pygmy hog

Porcula salvania

Endangered

European wild boar - Valentin Panzirsch.

Wild boar

Sus scrofa

Least Concern

South East Asian species

Hairy babirusa - Jean-Christophe Vie.jpg

Hairy babirusa

Babyrousa babirussa

Vulnerable

Sulawesi babirusa - Josh More.jpg

Sulawesi babirusa

Babyrousa celebensis

Vulnerable

Togian Islands babirusa - M. Akbar.bmp

Togian Islands babirusa

Babyrousa togeanensis

Endangered

Palawan bearded pig - Unknown.bmp

Palawan bearded pig

Sus ahoenobarbus

Near Threatened

Sunda bearded pig - Bernard Dupont.jpg

Sunda bearded pig

Sus barbatus

Vulnerable

Visayan warty pig - Zweer de Bruin.jpg

Visayan warty pig

Sus cebifrons

Critically Endangered

Sulawesi warty pig - Unknown.jpg

Sulawesi warty pig

Sus celebensis

Near Threatened

Mindoro warty pig - Unknown.jpg

Oliver's warty pig

Sus oliveri

Vulnerable

Philippine warty pig - Unknown.bmp

Philippine warty pig

Sus philippensis

Vulnerable

Javan warty pig - Unknown.jpg

Javan warty pig

Sus verrucosus

Endangered

Other wild pigs of the world

Boar

Undescribed or new species

Black Pig

Introduced and feral species