Guinea Forest Hog


ORDER: Artiodactyla

FAMILY: Suidae

GENUS: Sus

SPECIES: scrofa

DESCRIPTION:
A small breed of swine unique to the United States, they weigh 150-300 pounds and are 15-20 inches tall when fully grown. They are usually black in color. They have upright ears, a hairy coat, and a curly tail.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Found in the United States, usually as pets rather than being raised commercially.

DIET:
Omnivorous. Pigs will eat fungi, tubers, bulbs, green vegetation, grains, nuts, cultivated crops, invertebrates, small vertebrates, and carrion.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Female pigs have an estrous cycle of 21 days, are receptive for 2-3 days and have one litter annually. Gestation period is 100-140 days and a litter is usually 4-8 but may include as many as 12. Piglets are weaned after 3-4 months and leave the mother prior to the birth of the next litter. Young females may stay with the mother. Sexual maturity is reached at 8-10 months but females do not mate until 18 months and males cannot compete successfully until around 5 years of age. Average longevity is 10 years, but some pigs have lived as long as 27 years.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Snouts of pigs have a sturdy, somewhat flexible flat rounded tip which is especially effective in rooting through the dirt for food.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
Also known as the Pineywoods Guinea, Guinea Hog, Acorn Eater and Yard Pig. There are various theories as to their history, but the original breed most likely originated on the Guinea coast of Africa and arrived in the U.S. in conjunction with the slave trade. These Red Guineas were large and square with reddish hair, but the breed combined with other breeds and disappeared as a distinct population. The name occurred later, describing a small black hog common on homesteads throughout the Southeast. Guinea Hogs were expected to forage for their own food, i.e. eat rodents and other small animals, grass, roots, and clean out garden beds. They produced the hams, bacon and lard essential for subsistence farming.

OUR ANIMALS:
One male and one female in the Children's Zoo. Both were acquired in 2008 when under a year in age.

STATUS IN WILD:
Found only in the domestic state and considered critically endangered. The breed was once the most numerous pig breed found on small farms in the Southeast, but today there are fewer than 200.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Internet: American Livestock Breeds Conservancy; Oklahoma State University
  2. Nowak, Ronald. Walker Mammals of the World. 1999. Johns Hopkins Univ. CL:08

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