The Bushpig (Potamochoerus Larvatus) also referred to as the Red River Hog, is a member of the pig family that inhabits forests, woodland, riverine vegetation and cultivated areas in East and Southern Africa. Introduced populations are also present in Madagascar. There have also been unverified reports of their presence on the Comoro Island or Mayotte.

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Adult Bushpig stand from 66 to 100 cm (26 to 39 in) at the shoulder and mature boars can reach a weight of 150 kg (330 lb), although 60 to 80 kg (130 to 180 lb) is more common. Sows are 45 to 70 kg (99 to 154 lb). They resemble the domestic pig, and can be identified by their pointed, tufted ears and face mask.

Bushpig vary in hair colour and skin colour over their range, southern koiropotamus and nyasae populations are dark reddish, sometimes almost black. The coat colour darkens with age. Their heads have a ‘face mask’ with a contrasting pattern of blackish to dark brown and white to dark grey markings, or may sometimes be completely whitish. The ears have tassels of long hairs. Their very sharp tusks are fairly short and inconspicuous. Unlike Warthog, Bushpig run with their long and thin tails down.

Males are normally larger than females. Old males develop two warts on their snout. Piglets are born with pale yellowish longitudinal stripes on a dark brown background; these soon disappear and the coat becomes reddish brown, with a black and white dorsal crest in both sexes. This mane bristles when the animal becomes agitated.

Distributed over a wide range, the Bushpig occurs from Ethiopia and Somalia in the north to southeastern DRC and southwards through the Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal Province, South Africa, where it is largely known from the areas around Johannesburg and all along the country’s southern coast. It is also known to inhabit Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Bushpig also occurs on Madagascar and possibly other islands in the Comoros archipelago. It is not known how the species reached these locations, though it was likely transported there by humans, possibly after a brief period of domestication. Numerous hybrids with domesticated breeds of pig have also been reported.

Bushpig are quite social animals and are found in sounders of up to twelve members, usually three to five. A typical group will consist of a dominant male and a dominant female, with other females and juveniles accounting for the rest. Groups engage in ritual aggressive behaviour when encountering each other, but will actually fight for large food sources. Sounders have home ranges, but are not territorial and different home ranges overlap. Groups generally keep away from each other. All intruders near the sounder are attacked, also non-Bushpig. Home ranges are 400 to 1,000 hectares. In Knysna (a forest region) the average was 720 hectare. Almost half the population consists of solitary wandering animals. Small bachelor groups of young males also form, these have ranges which overlay those of a few. The young males will avoid the sounders to escape confrontation.

Litters of one to nine, usually three, young are born. From mating to the end of the gestation is a period of eight to ten months. After six months of age the alpha sows will aggressively chase the young males off, she will do the same to a few one to two year old beta sows. Young males are socially mature at 30 months of age. Mating mostly occurs in late autumn to early winter. Farrowing may occur at any time of the year but there is a pronounced peak in the warmest part of the summer (from October to February in South Africa).

The alpha sow builds a nest three metre wide and one metre high during the winter, with bedding consisting of stacked hay, twigs or plant debris from floods, to keep the litter of piglets for approximately four months while they wean. The males are the main care-givers, the sows only visit the nest to wean the piglets. Sows have six teats.

They snort and grunt harshly while foraging or alarmed. The pigs are essentially nocturnal, hiding in very dense thickets during the day. They never hide in Aardvark burrows. Leopard are their main predator, combatting Leopard has increased Bushpig numbers.

Bushpigs are very aggressive and extremely powerful. Wounded Bushpig are very dangerous; their spoor should not be followed alone. They are fast, and can swim well. Bushpig will range up to 4 km from their hide in a night to feed.

They are omnivorous and their diet can include roots, crops, succulent plants, water sedges, rotten wood, insects, small reptiles, eggs, nestlings and carrion. Tubers, bulbs and fruit are the most important food. Eggs and nestlings are also a favourite. Both fresh and very rotten carrion is eaten. Small young antelope are stalked and consumed. A behaviour observed in Uganda is to follow a troop of monkeys or baboons in the trees above to feed on the falling fruit and peels.

During droughts high mortalities have occurred in South Africa. In South Africa, 40% of the diet was tubers and other underground plant parts, 30% was herbage, 13% fruit, 9% animal matter and 8% fungi.

It is known for destructive grubbing, uprooting shrubs and scattering them around, unearthing all root crops, feeding on only a few, and trampling the rest. Favourite crops are pô-pô, sugarcane, banana and maize. It cuts down taller plants at their base to reach the fruit. Other favourite agricultural crops are beans, peas, groundnuts, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, potato, carrot, pineapple, spanspek, watermelon, nuts, alfalfa and green pasture. Chicken pens are often destroyed and raided.

They are a significant nuisance animal in the agricultural regions, and are hunted fairly extensively. However, the population of Bushpig in many farming areas is stable or growing despite the hunting efforts, due to largely inaccessible terrain, abundance of food, lack of predators, relatively high reproductive potential, and their rapid ability to adapt to hunting methods.

Eradicating or controlling their numbers on the farm is quite difficult. They quickly learn to stay away from hunters, and will flee even when the hunter is still 200 metres away in thick bushveld. The best way to shoot one is to hide at one of its game trails towards a food source (called a ‘restaurant’) in the evening. Trapping also does not work easily, as Bushpig are wary of new and unfamiliar objects in their territories, and will avoid a trap for several months. They are also suspicious of unfamiliar objects such broken branches or scuff-marks in the soil, and will avoid the area when they find them. Using packs of specially trained dogs to hunt is more efficient, but dogs may be killed by the boars if they are not careful. Another way of killing the pigs is to make a large and very sturdy boma with a closing mechanism and regularly stock it with feed for a period of two or three months, before engaging the mechanism with a whole sounder or more inside. Setting this up must be done carefully by the same person alone in the same shoes, so as not to arouse the hogs’ suspicion.


The main habitat requirement is dense cover, Bushpig avoid open forests or Savannah. Bushpig can be found in forests with high trees, montane forests, forest fringes, thick bush veld, gallery forests, flooded forest, swampland or cultivated areas as habitat.


What is Bushpig Taxidermy?

Planning carefully is the key to a good Bushpig taxidermy job. When tanning and oiling the hides, the best chemicals and methods in the world are used to make sure they will last for generations. At Lifeform Taxidermy, we carefully choose our forms to make sure they fit well, and we’ll even custom make the forms according to any instruction, you may have in mind, at no extra cost. Full-mount trophies come with standard natural habitat bases that are made just for them. We use only the best materials and our 40 years of experience in the field to give your trophies new meaning. The finished trophies look life-like. When repair is needed, every effort is made to repair cuts and scrapes while keeping bullet damage to a minimum. Skin preparation and storage tips for a flawless Bushpig trophy.

Take care of your trophy before you bring it to the taxidermist – field preparation is the most important start. As soon as you take the hit on your trophy, it starts to rot, and the heat of Africa speeds up the decaying process. The hunter must not drag the body of the animal from the site where it was shot to the waiting hunting truck. The trophy should be protected from the hot metal bed of the hunting truck with a thick layer of cut grass or leaves.

So that nothing goes wrong, the skinning needs to start right away. Remove all of the meat, fat, dirt, and blood from the skin. Clean the skin well. After that, allow the skin to drip dry for a short time, it should then be salted. It is recommended to soak the skin in a salt solution for at least five hours and ideally overnight. Use about 20 kg of salt per 100 litres of water. After taking the skin out of the solution, salt it while it is still flat and flesh side up on a clean surface. To get the full effect of the salt, it needs to be absorbed into the skin all over, into all the crevice’s, especially around the facial features. Put the skin in the shade with a layer of salt on it. After 24 hours, dry the cape. Fold with the hair and ears in when it’s dry. To stop insect damage, pesticides must be sprayed on the skin and in the storage area.

Hunting Bushpig

There are three methods to go on a hunt for Bushpigs, and each one is as as thrilling as the others. Baiting traps for Bushpigs is the standard method of hunting. The hunters will wait in the blind for the Bushpig to come, feeding before making their move. Because of their acute senses of hearing, sight, and scent, silence is golden. When scouring the farms and other open regions of South Africa for Bushpig, another option is to use a spotlight at night. It is also common practise in South Africa to use a pack of hounds in a hunt for Bushpigs. In South Africa, hunting Bushpig with a pack of hounds is a popular approach to boost the hunter’s chances of bagging a trophy Bushpig.

To find Bushpig while they are resting throughout the day, you’ll have to venture into the thickets and underbrush. Most of their activity takes place at night, making that the perfect time to go hunting for them. It’s recommended to use a rifle with an appropriate calibre, preferably one with a .270 or greater barrel. Another viable option is a shotgun loaded with slugs. Keep your distance from these animals; you can always bank on aggressive behaviour from tiny groups that contain young Bushpigs. Warning: this bad-tempered beast becomes incredibly violent when wounded, so while hunting Bushpig can make for an exciting evening and interesting stalk, it’s important to exercise utmost caution.

You should expect your African Bushpig trophy to measure about 32 inches at the shoulder, to weigh about 180 pounds, and to have a tusk length of about 4 inches.

The Bushpig taxidermy process and method

How you choose an Bushpig taxidermy mount depends on things like your budget, wall space, and personal taste. When it comes to the creation of a full mount, we find that considerable discussion with the customer yields the best results. This is due to the fact that each form is given a distinct shape and arrangement.

Life-Form Taxidermy will make an exact copy of the skin as soon as they get all of your mounting instructions. All of the skins are tanned and oiled with high-quality products and methods to make sure they are preserved for years. Each skin is put on a manikin to make sure that it fits well. After the eyes and ears are expertly placed, the skin is sewn by a professional. Before making any last changes, the taxidermist waits until the animal is dry. They put the trophies in crates, and the shipping company hired by the client brings them to the client.

Taking care of your Bushpig trophy

Every year, dust the mounts with a soft brush or compressed air to fluff up the hair. Trophies should be protected from common pests by spraying a light mist of normal aerosol surface pesticide around them. Think about preserving your trophy with Mount Medix Africa. This is a product that Life-Form Taxidermy offers.

Keep trophies in a cool, dry place. Daylight makes the mounts fade over time, so artificial light is better. If there’s too much humidity, open the windows or turn on a fan. Due to salt and tan residue, hair can make moisture beads when the humidity is high. Using a tissue that soaks up water will also soak up the salts.


How much does a Bushpig trophy cost?

The pricing of any trophy is subject to the costing stipulated per taxidermy order, quantity of trophies and preferred mounting options, along with additional requirements.

Should you wish to receive a quotation prior to the hunt, the taxidermist can generate such for you. Please contact [email protected]

How long does a Bushpig trophy take?

Taxidermy is an art form that involves a complicated step-by-step process to make sure that each trophy looks just right and is of a high enough quality that it will last your whole life.

The time it takes a taxidermist to mount an animal might range from days to weeks, and possibly several months, depending on the quantity of trophies per taxidermy order, the display preferences, and volumes of client trophies to be produced, simultaneously, per production schedule.

This depends largely on the “what, how, when” factors. A taxidermy order also only becomes available for production scheduling upon receipt of the required deposit and trophy mounting instructions.

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