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Predators and lifecycle of the Bearded Pig

The bearded pig is a species of pig that can be identified by a beard-like tuft of whiskers growing from the top of its snout. It is an omnivorous mammal.

The bearded pig can be found living wild in the mangroves and rainforests of the islands in South East Asia – namely Sumatra, Borneo and the Eastern Philippines. There are also a number of bearded pigs living in zoos around the world.

The bearded pig has a very small body in relation to other pig species, but an exceptionally large head. It has a long and slender snout that sports the beard of yellowish whiskers that give the species its name.

Roots, fallen fruits, insects, new shoots and seedlings make up the core of the bearded pigs diet although they will also eat carrion. Families of bearded pigs will often follow packs of monkeys around to feast on whatever is left of the monkey’s own fruit harvest.

Bearded pigs live in large family groups but the females will leave the main family to give birth. Birthing takes place in a nest that the female bearded pig makes for herself out of vegetation, and nests can be as large as 2 metres in diameter and 1 metre high. The average litter size is around 4.

Young bearded pigs (known as “piglets”,  “shoats” or “bonhams”) will stay with their mother for the first full year of their lives. They will learn how to survive in the rainforest with the rest of the family group, which can include up to 200 members. Bearded pigs have a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years.

The main predators of the bearded pig include tigers, pythons and leopards. Human will also hunt the bearded pig for meat.

The bearded pig is something referred to as the Borneo Bearded Pig, and its name in Malay is “Babi Berjanggut”. The Latin name for the bearded pig is “Sus Barbatus”.

Bearded Pig Facts

The bearded pig is one of the smaller species of pig that lives in the rainforests and mangroves of the islands around Indonesia and the Philippines. It is an omnivorous mammal that eats roots, earthworms, fruits and other forest foods including carrion (dead meat).

The bearded pig has a very long face with a slender snout. They have a large number of whiskers that grow on the snout and lend the species its name. They have one of the smallest torsos yet one of the largest heads of all pig species.

Their bodies are grey or brown in colour and are covered in a thin layer of yellow / white hairs. They have small ears and small, wart-like tusks on their snouts. They have tails that are between 20 and 30 cm long and have a two-rower tuft, similar to an elephant’s tail.

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Bearded pig facts

Classification: Mammal
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Sub-family: Suinae
Species: Sus Barbatus
Body length: 100 – 165 cm
Body height: 70 – 85 cm
Body weight: 100 – 150 kg
Lifespan: Up to 16 years

The female bearded pig will give birth to a litter of between 2 and 8 young. These piglets will live with their mother for the first year of their lives. The females give birth in a nest of twigs and ferns they build themselves and have a gestation period of 4 months. The maximum expected lifespan of a bearded pig is 16 years.

Bearded pigs live in large family groups and live together in one location for the majority of the year. They are known to follow packs of monkeys, such as gibbons or macaques, to eat the fruit that the monkeys discard and drop to the forest floor.

Humans will hunt the bearded pig for its meat, usually whilst the pig is making its annual migration. The bearded pig is the only species of pig that is known to make a long distance migration, and during this period it will depart from its usually shy behaviour. This makes it a prime target for predators, including tigers, leopards and pythons, during this time.

Despite these predators, and the relatively small spread of native environments around the world, the bearded pig is not classed as an endangered species.

Bearded Pig Whiskers

The bearded pig (Latin name ‘sus barbatus’) is a member of the pig family that has a striking tuft of whiskers on its snout, lending the species the very distinguishable name.

The bearded pig differs from the classic domestic pigs that are bred in the U.K. in a number of ways, most notably in their appearance. Apart from the unmistakable whiskery beards, the bearded pig is a very slim animal that stands on long thin legs with very thin, hoofed feet. It has a long snout with small ears behind its eyes and tusk-like warts on the end.

The pigs beard is made of a sprouting of yellowy white whiskers that grow beneath the eyes, along the length of the snout and around the sides of the pigs face. The bearded pig has the same hair covering the majority of its body, although this hair is much shorter and more spread than the snout hair that forms the beard. The colour of the bearded pigs hide can range from grey to dark brown.

The bearded pig lives in family groups that are native to the islands of South East Asia, including Borneo, Indonesia and the Philippines. They are omnivorous mammals and live in rainforests and mangrove forests.

Young bearded pigs are called piglets, shoats or bonhams. Young females can also be called gilts. As in most pig species, the male bearded pig is called a boar and the female is called a sow. A group of bearded pigs is termed as a herd, drove or mob.

Due to the environment in which the bearded pig lives, their main predators are pythons, tigers and leopards. They are also hunted for their meat by humans. The bearded pig is a shy creature, although during its annual migration it will become more adventurous. This is a prime time for its predators to hunt it.

The Bearded Pig

Sus barbatus, or the “Bearded Pig”, is a small-sized member of the pig family native to South East Asia. The bearded pig gets it name from the unmistakable tuft of fur on its snout which very closely resembles a beard.The bearded pig lives in rainforests and mangrove thickets across Borneo, Sumatra and the surrounding islands in Indonesia and the Eastern Philippines. They eat a diet of earthworms, fruits, roots, seedlings and other small morsels available in the rainforest, even including carrion.

The bearded pig is one of the most slender orders of the pig family, and this lightweight frame is supported by thin legs and hoofed feet. Bearded pigs vary in colour from dark brown to charcoal grey, and despite their hairy snouts they have very little hair on their hides.

The hairy whiskers that cover their snouts and give the pigs such an odd name are white or pale yellow in colour, and grow around the top of the snout and the sides of the pigs face. On the front of their snouts are two pairs of warts, although these can often be hidden from view by the pigs’ beards.

Once fully grown, the bearded pig can measure up to 165 cm (5.5 ft) in length and will stand between 70 cm and 85 cm (2.4 ft – 2.8 ft) from the ground. The average adult bearded pig will weigh around 150 kg.

The pigs live in family groups, sometimes consisting of up to 200 family members, and generally follow groups of rainforest primates, such as macaque monkeys or gibbons. The families of pigs will eat the discarded fruits picked from the higher reaches of the rainforest and left behind by the monkeys.

These families will embark on a mass migration once every year, and are the only member of the pig, or “suid”, family to do so. As many as 100 bearded pigs will travel together on the migration that will be lead by one of the more mature family members.

The bearded pig is not an endangered species, although certain subspecies such as sus barbatus ahoenobarbus (the Palawan bearded pig) and sus barbatus oi (the Western bearded pig) are classified as low-risk, near threatened subspecies.