I recently came across a family of 7-8 bushpigs on my way home one night on Golovane Road. As I often drive very slowly at night, as I almost always see something interesting, they didn’t hear me coming and when they would normally shoot off into the bush, they stayed in the road for a bit so I could watch them sniffing around. It was such a great sighting and the inner Game Ranger in me wanted to wake everyone up and tell them as soon as I got home.

Bushpigs are members of the pig family and live in woodlands, forests, riverine vegetation, and reed-beds. They are found in East and Southern Africa. The scientific name is a mix of terms from the Greek and Latin languages. When the terms are put together, it translates to “a pig with a mask, wallowing in the water”.

Bushpig, while very skittish, can be rather powerful and aggressive as they are territorial creatures. They can cause serious injuries to their victim, while using their sharp, protruding canines. This is often if they are protecting their young piglets, injured, or if they are startled when caught off guard in the bush. They are nocturnal and tend to be more active in the daytime during the cooler months only.

They can be identified by their blunt, muscular spouts, small eyes, pointed, tufted ears and face mask. They vary in colour from reddish brown to dark brown and get darker with age. They also have short, razor-sharp tusks, which often aren’t visible. Adult male and female bushpigs are usually the same in length but males weigh a lot more than the females.

Bushpigs love to wallow in the water and roll about or lie in the dust or mud. They are omnivores and enjoy a wide variety of food, which can include roots of plants, fruits, insects, crops, as well as decaying dead flesh of animals, if in the wild.

A male bushpig is called a boar and female is called a sow, a baby is called a piglet or shoat. One male bushpig mates with multiple females once he has reached sexual maturity of between 18-21 months. Breeding usually takes place between May and June, during the Autumn/Winter months. Three to four piglets are born after a gestation period of only around four months. Piglets usually stay with their parents for about six months after birth.

Next time you are driving around the farm or in the bush, (especially in the evening), have a look out for these interesting, independent little creatures and try to grab a photo if you can 😉

Have a look at the video I managed to capture of the Bushpigs on my drive home.