Ranging only in equatorial Africa , the red river hog's range currently stretches from Senegal to former Zaire (Wilson & Reeder, 1993). Its distribution map was acquired from Oliver (1993) and revised by Dr. J. P. d’Huart ( 28 April ‘97 ). Possible or presumed areas of intergradation between the two Potamochoerus species have been marked as "possible"
Categorical-discrete (CD) distribution model
This species occurs in a wide range of habitat types, including lowland rainforest, gallery forest, dry forest, savanna woodland, mixed scrub and cultivated areas (Oliver, 1993)
The shaggy, foxy red coat has contrasting black and white markings on the head, including a white eye ring. The leaf-shaped ears have long black and white tassels and the erectile mane which runs the length of the spine is white. Both of these features are used as defenses, as they greatly increase the perceived size of the pig when fluffed out. The snout is long, and, in males, has lengthwise ridges and warts, which are often hidden by the bushy facial hair. The body is round and is supported by short, sturdy legs. The tail is long and hairless except for the terminal tuft. The upper tusks are relatively small and almost invisible, while the lower ones are razor sharp and grow 7 cm / 3 inches long.
Red river hogs are most active during the night, resting in a self-excavated burrow deep within impenetrable vegetation during the day. When frightened, the striped piglets crouch and "play possum". As they get older, flight becomes the more frequent response. However, when cornered or wounded, these pigs display considerable courage and frequently attack. Red river hogs are fast runners and good swimmers. They often root for tubers with their plow-like noses and can cause considerable damage to crops in a short period of time. A sounder may have a very large home range, with over 4 km / 2.4 miles between resting and feeding areas.
The red river hog and its eastern counterpart the bushpig were, until recently, considered to be a single species, classified under P. porcus. The name 'red river hog' refers to the foxy red colour of the coat and its habit of wallowing in ponds and streams [see below], and should not be confused with any hog living near a Red River. Potamos (Greek) a river; khoiros (Greek) a pig: they enjoy wallowing in water in hot weather. Porcus (Latin) a pig.