My story will be in The Oklahoman tomorrow, but here’s the press release from the Oklahoma City Zoo in the mean time.
The Oklahoma City Zoo is “squee”-fully announcing the births of three red river hog piglets, born Saturday, April 2, 2011!
The piglets were born to mom Divit, who came to the Zoo from the Los Angeles Zoo in 2010, and dad Sir David Pigglesworth III, who also came from the Los Angeles Zoo in 2009. This was the first offspring for both parents.
The piglets have not been named, as keepers are still waiting to determine the sex of each piglet.
Zoo guests may visit the red river hogs at their habitat (weather dependant on temperatures above 55 degrees), located next to the giraffe exhibit. The piglets will have access to the outdoor yard from approximately 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day but will also have access to an indoor, off-exhibit area.
This birth was only the second red river hog birth in Zoo history, following the birth of three piglets to mom Clove and dad Bullet on July 4, 2006. In celebration of their holiday birth, Zoo keepers named those piglets Star, Spangle and Banner.
“We are very excited about the birth of these red river hogs,” said Mammals Curator Laura Bottaro. “They are a fun and fascinating species and a favorite of many Zoo visitors.”
Red river hogs originate from west and central Africa, where they spend their days relaxing in thickets, forests, savannas and swamps. They take advantage of these moist regions by digging burrows deep into impenetrable vegetation during the day while saving much of their activity for night. The blazing red coats characteristic of the red river hogs define their name along with their tendency to wallow in ponds and streams.
A long, bristly red coat and black and white markings make red river hogs one of the most attractive specimens of the hog world. A white crest of hair, which stands on end when the hog is excited or alarmed, runs down their backs. Long tufts of hair on the tip of each ear finish off the unique look of this species.
At birth, the piglets are a dark brown color with lighter, tan stripes running from front to back. The pattern resembles the markings on a watermelon and is especially helpful providing camouflage for the piglets while they are young.
The multi-talented red river hogs are known for their excellence in running and swimming. They also benefit from an acute sense of smell, which is further enhanced as they sniff in circular motions.
Although red river hogs are not considered endangered, humans continue to threaten the species as populations overtake many red river hog habitats. Other natural predators include leopards, lions, spotted hyenas and pythons.