Guinea Forest Hog

Children's Zoo

Location

In the Zoo
Size
Male
Female
Height:
22-27 inches
22-25 inches
Length:
46-56 inches
46-56 inches
Weight
150-300 pounds
150-300 pounds
Maturity:
8-10 months
8-10 months

Geographic Range

Found in the United States, usually as pets rather than being raised commercially.

Scientific Information

Scientific Name:
Sus scrofa domesticus
Class:
Mammalia
Order:
Artiodactyl
Family:
Suidae
Genus:
Sus

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet:
Omnivorous
Activity Time Frame:
Diurnal
Interactivity:
Social
Sexual Dimorphism:
Yes
Gestation:
100-140 days
Lifespan in the Wild:
10 years
Lifespan in Captivity:
10 years

Conservation

Status:
Threats:

Characteristics

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. 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.

Species Specifics

The Three-Toed Box Turtle has a tan or olive carapace with darker seams and some vague markings. They also have orange, red and yellow spots on their head and forelimbs.The defining characteristic of this turtle is its toes. It has three toes on its back feet, thus why its known as the Three Toed Box Turtle. Hybrid Three Toed Box Turtles who have been interbred with Common Box Turtles sometimes have four toes instead of three. Sexual Dimorphism: males are larger. Males are slightly larger on average, the posterior lobe of their plastron is concave, and the claws on their hind legs are short, thick and curved. Males also have thicker and longer tails. Females' rear claws are longer, straighter and more slender, and the posterior lobe of their plastron is flat or slightly convex. There are four subspecies of Terrapene carolina in the United States. Terrapene carolina bauri (Florida Box Turtle) lives on the peninsula of Florida. Terrapene c. major (Gulf Coast Box Turtle) ranges from the panhandle of Florida westward along the Gulf cost to eastern Texas. Terrapene c. triunguis (Three-toed Box Turtle) lives in the Mississippi River Valley from northern Missouri southward across southeastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma into southcentral Texas; and southeastward across western Tennessee and Georgia to the coastal lowlands.

Physical Characteristics

Pigs have a tremendous sense of smell. The large round disk of cartilage at the tip of the snout is connected to muscle that give it extra flexibility and strength for rooting in the ground. The saliva of Guinea Hogs contains pheromones

Ecology

Habitat

American Guinea Hogs, also known as Guinea Forest Hogs, are now found on small farms and large ranches throughout the US.

Distribution

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.

Ecological Web

Secondary consumer.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

Like most reptiles, activity is temperature dependent, preferring conditions that are moist, humid, and warm. Ideal temperature is 80-95°F and they are more active during rainy periods and immediately after it has rained. During drought, turtles may spend time in burrows and in excessive heat turtles will seek out shallow pools of water to soak in. In fall months turtles are observed basking in the sunlight for energy. In Northern climates turtles will enter hibernation in late October. In places like Florida, turtles are active year around.

Behavior

Guinea Hogs make sure their bathroom is very far from where they eat, lie down and rest; even piglets will find a place to go to the bathroom that is far from their nest.- Guinea Hogs do not sweat a lot, that's why they cover themselves in mud

Social Behavior

Pigs are incredibly social animals. When kept in a group they will snuggle close to one another, and prefer to sleep nose-to-nose.

Reproductive Behavior

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.

Offspring

Young are born precocial and able to fend for themselves.

Conservation

Status

Found only in the domestic state and considered a rare breed. The breed was once the most numerous pig breed found on small farms in the Southeast, but today there are fewer than 200. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) classifies Guinea Hogs as critical on the Conservation Priority List.

Historical

American Guinea Hogs are a critically rare breed of pig that is unique to North America. The original stock for the breed, over the last 200-300 years, developed through adaptation and crossbreeding with Appalachian English pigs to create an American original. There were commonly found on homesteads in the south eastern US.

Current Threats

Introduced Non-Native, Domestic, and Invasive Species

Our Role

No items found.

How You Can Help

Please be aware of the pets you choose to buy. Never get a pet that has been taken from the wild and never return a pet to the wild. Be aware of pesticide applications so as to not poison native animals that benefit your ecosystem. Finally, be conscious of your trash and waste so as to not attract unwanted animals such as ravens.

Fascinating Facts

Despite their reputation, pigs are not dirty animals. They're actually quite clean. The pig's reputation as a filthy animal comes from its habit of rolling in mud to cool off. Pigs that live in cool, covered environments stay very clean!

Pigs were among the first animals to be domesticated, about 6,000 years ago in China!

Pigs are very intelligent animals. According to the Humane Society, pigs are smarter than 3-year old children. Domesticated pigs can even be trained to do tricks, and even use a litter box like a cat.

Pigs are very useful to the medical industry. Pigs' hearts are used as replacements for human hearts. Also, insulin and around 40 other medicines are made from pigs!

Pigs' genetic makeup is very close to our own. Because of this, stem cells from pigs are being used by scientists to research cures for human diseases. To track the cells once they've been injected, Chinese geneticists have crossed a pig with a jellyfish, producing piglets whose tongues and snouts glow fluorescent green in UV light.

Think that pigs are slow and lumbering? As it turns out, they're not at all! Adult pigs can run at speeds of up to 11 mph, or in other words, they can run a 7-minute mile. Can you?

References

Internet: American Livestock Breeds Conservancy; Oklahoma State University

Nowak, Ronald. Walker's Mammals of the World. 1999. Johns Hopkins Univ.

American Guinea Hog Association (AGHG). 2017. http://guineahogs.org/history-of-guinea-hogs/