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  • Description The bushpig is a member of the pig family that inhabits forests, woodland, riverine vegetation and cultivated areas in East and Southern Africa.

Adult bushpigs stand from 66 to 100 cm at the shoulder, and mature boars can reach a weight of 150 kg although 60 to 80 kg is more common. Sows are 45 to 70 kg. They resemble the domestic pig, and can be identified by their pointed, tufted ears and face mask.

Bushpigs vary in hair colour and skin colour over their range, southern koiropotamus and nyasae populations are dark reddish, sometimes almost black. The coat colour darkens with age. Their heads have a ‘face mask’ with a contrasting pattern of blackish to dark brown and white to dark grey markings, or may sometimes be completely whitish. The ears have tassels of long hairs. Their very sharp tusks are fairly short and inconspicuous. Unlike warthogs, bushpigs run with their long and thin tails down.

Males are normally larger than females. Old males develop two warts on their snout. Piglets are born with pale yellowish longitudinal stripes on a dark brown background, these soon disappear and the coat becomes reddish brown, with a black and white dorsal crest in both sexes. This mane bristles when the animal becomes agitated.

Bushpigs are quite social animals and are found in sounders of up to twelve members, usually three to five. A typical group will consist of a dominant male and a dominant female, with other females and juveniles accounting for the rest. Groups engage in ritual aggressive behaviour when encountering each other, but will actually fight for large food sources. Sounders have home ranges, but are not territorial and different home ranges overlap. Groups generally keep away from each other. All intruders near the sounder are attacked, also non-bushpigs. Home ranges are 400 to 1,000 hectares, in Knysna (a forest region) the average was 720 hectare. Almost half the population consists of solitary wandering animals. Small bachelor groups of young males also form, these have ranges which overlay those of a few. The young males will avoid the sounders to escape confrontation. Litters of one to nine, usually three, young are born. From mating to the end of the gestation is a period of eight to ten months. After six months of age the alpha sows will aggressively chase the young males off, she will do the same to a few one to two year old beta sows. Young males are socially mature at 30 months of age. Mating mostly occurs in late autumn to early winter. Farrowing may occur at any time of the year but there is a pronounced peak in the warmest part of the summer (from October to February in South Africa).

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