(UPDATE 6/26/18) Now almost six weeks old, the piglets are doing well, achieving developmental milestones and have no health concerns. Oklahoma City Zoo caretakers report that, while still nursing, they are also eating solid food. Their diet is very similar to that of the mature red river hogs, consisting of grain pellets and produce, but the produce is diced for the newborns to make it easier to chew and digest. The three have not yet been named, but caretakers are working diligently to find the perfect names and should have an announcement soon.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is hog wild about three new arrivals. On Thursday, May 17, three red river hog piglets, two males and one female, were born to mom Divet and dad Sir David Pigglesworth, III. This is the sixth litter of piglets born to Divet and Sir Pigglesworth at the OKC Zoo and the seventh litter in the Zoo’s history.
The piglets may be seen with their parents in their habitat, located next to the giraffe exhibit, beginning this Thursday, May 24 (weather permitting). Divet came to the OKC Zoo from the Los Angeles Zoo in 2010 and David arrived in 2009 from the Bronx Zoo. It was at this previous home that Sir Pigglesworth earned his unique moniker from Prince William, who “knighted” the animal during a visit to the United States.
Red river hogs have reddish coats with black and white markings and tend to wallow in ponds and streams. They possess an acute sense of smell and guests may notice them sniffing in circular motions. 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.
Not connected to Oklahoma’s Red River, the species is native to 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. Although not considered endangered, humans continue to threaten the species as populations overtake many red river hog habitats.