Pygmy hog

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Pygmy hog
Pygmy hog in Assam breeding centre AJT Johnsingh.JPG
CITES Appendix I (CITES)[2]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Genus: Porcula
Hodgson, 1847
P. salvania[1]
Binomial name
Porcula salvania[1]
Hodgson, 1847

Sus salvanius

The pygmy hog (Porcula salvania) is a suid native to alluvial grasslands in the foothills of the Himalayas at elevations of up to 300 m (980 ft). Today, the only known population lives in Assam, India and possibly southern Bhutan. As the population is estimated at less than 250 mature individuals, it is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.[2]


Painting of a piglet born in the London Zoological Gardens in 1883

The pygmy hog's coat is brown with a few dark hairs. Its head is tapered with a slight crest of hair on the forehead and on the back of its neck. Its iris is hazel brown. It is about 20–25 cm (8–10 in) high and 45.5–51 cm (18–20 in) long with a short tail of about 2.5 cm (0.98 in). It weighs 3.2–5.4 kg (7–12 lb).[3] Adult males have the upper canines visible on the sides of their mouths.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

Piglets are born grayish-pink, becoming brown with yellow stripes along the body length. They live for about eight years, becoming sexually mature at one to two years old. They breed seasonally before the monsoons giving birth after a gestation of 100 days to a litter of three to six.

In the wild, they make small nests by digging a small trench and lining it with vegetation. During the heat of the day, they stay within these nests. They feed on roots, tubers, insects, rodents, and small reptiles.


Porcula salvania was the scientific name proposed by Brian Houghton Hodgson in 1847 who described a pygmy hog from the Sikkim Terai.[3] Later, the pygmy hog was moved with other pig species in the genus Sus and named Sus salvanius.[4][5] A 2007 genetic analysis of the variation in a large section of mitochondrial DNA suggested that the original classification of the pygmy hog as a distinct genus was justified.[6] The resurrection of the original genus status and the species name Porcula salvania has been adopted by GenBank. The species name salvania is after the sal forests where it was found.[7][8]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Skull of Porcula salvania

The pygmy hog used to be widespread in the tall, wet grasslands in the southern Himalayan foothills from Uttar Pradesh through Nepal, Bangladesh, northern West Bengal to Assam.[4][5][2] By 2002, only one viable population remained in Manas National Park, which had been estimated to comprise a few hundred individuals.[9][10] In 2021, it was estimated that about 250 hogs lived in the wild.[11]


The pygmy hog is protected under Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 in India and listed in CITES Appendix I.[12]

In 2021, twelve pygmy hogs were released into the wild in northeast India as a part of a conservation program.[13][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grubb, P. (2005). "Species Porcula salvania". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 641. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c d Meijaard, E.; Narayan, G. & Deka, P. (2019). "Porcula salvania". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T21172A44139115. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T21172A44139115.en. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  3. ^ a b Hodgson, B.H. (1847). "On a new form of the Hog kind or Suidae". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 16 (May): 423–428.
  4. ^ a b Oliver, W.L.R. (1980). The Pigmy Hog: the Biology and Conservation of the Pigmy Hog, Sus (Porcula) salvanius, and the Hispid Hare, Caprolagus hispidus. Special Scientific Report No 1 (Report). Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust.
  5. ^ a b Oliver, W.L.R. & Roy, S.D. (1993). "The Pigmy Hog (Sus salvanius)". In Oliver, W.L.R. (ed.). Pigs, Peccaries and Hippos: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN/SSC Pigs and Peccaries Specialist Group, IUCN/SSC Hippo Specialist Group. pp. 121–129. ISBN 9782831701417.
  6. ^ Funk, S.M.; Verma, S.K.; Larson, G.; Prasad, K.; Singh, L.; Narayan, G. & Fa, J.E. (2007). "The pygmy hog is a unique genus: 19th century taxonomists got it right first time round". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 45 (2): 427–436. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.08.007. PMID 17905601.
  7. ^ Horsfield, T. (1849). "Brief Notice of several Mammalia and Birds discovered by B. H. Hodgson, Esq., in Upper India". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. 3 (15): 202. doi:10.1080/03745485909494621.
  8. ^ Garson J.G. (1883). "Notes on the anatomy of Sus salvanius (PorcuIa salvania, Hodgson). Part 1. External characters and visceral anatomy". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: 413–418.
  9. ^ Narayan, G. & Deka, P. J. (2002). "Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme in Assam, India". IUCN/SSC Pigs, Peccaries, and Hippos Specialist Group (PPHSG) Newsletter. 2 (1): 5–7.
  10. ^ Narayan, G. (2006). "Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme – an update". IUCN/SSC Pigs, Peccaries, and Hippos Specialist Group (PPHSG) Newsletter. 6 (2): 14–15.
  11. ^ a b "World's Smallest Hogs Released Into Wild". Gizmodo. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  12. ^ Narayan, G.; Deka, P.J.; Oliver, W.L.R. & Fa, J.E. (2010). "Conservation breeding and re-introduction of the pygmy hog in N.W. Assam, India" (PDF). In Soorae, P.S. (ed.). Global Re-introduction Perspectives: 2010. Abu Dhabi, UAE: IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group. pp. 290–296. ISBN 978-2-8317-1320-5.
  13. ^ "These little piggies are going all the way home… to the wild | The Optimist Daily". 2 July 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.

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