Sus barbatus, commonly known as Bearded Pigs, are found in Malay Peninsula, Riau Archipelago, Sumatra, Bangka, Borneo and Karimata Island to the south, Sibutu and Tawitawi islands in the Sulu Archipelago, Balabac and Palawan and the Calamian islands in the western Philippines.
Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )
The Bearded Pig has the slimmest torso and longest head of all the living pigs. Distinguishing characteristics include two pairs of warts on the face with the first pair covered by the beard hair, thin whiskers on the face, and a two-rowed tail tuft. Pigs in general are medium sized artiodactyls with large heads, a short neck, and a powerful and agile body covered with a coarse bristly coat of hair.
The Bearded Pig has a dark brown-gray coat with a distinctive white beard on the face. It has small eyes and fairly long ears, corresponding with a well developed sense of hearing. The snout ends in a mobile disk-shaped structure that bears the nostrils. The snout is prominent and the sense of smell is well developed. The snout has on it a set of tusks formed by the lower canine teeth.
All pigs walk on the third and fourth digit of each foot, while the second and fifth digits are reduced in size and free from touching the ground.
Body length is 3.3-5.5 ft. Tail length is 8-12 in. Shoulder height is 2.4-2.8 ft.
Range mass: 41 to 150 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Catalog Number: USNM 113150
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull; Partial Skeleton
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1901
Locality: Indragiri River [= Sungai Indragiri], banks, about 30 mi above mouth, Sumatra, Riau, Indonesia, Asia
- Type: Miller, G. S. 5 Mar 1902 . Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 15: 51.
Bearded Pigs inhabit rainforests, mangrove thickets, and secondary forests.
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest
The Bearded Pig utilizes its long snout to dig in the ground for earthworms and roots. Fruit and gum tree seedlings are also part of the diet. Bearded Pigs often follow groups of macaques to feast upon the fruit that the macaques let fall to the ground. On the coast, they have also been known to feed upon dead fish that wash ashore.
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Status: captivity: 16.2 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Sexual maturity is reached at roughly 18 months, although most males do not gain access to receptive famale until reaching physical maturity at four years of age. The bearded pig along with other pigs of the genus Sus produce lip gland pheromones and a salivary foam during courtship. During courtship the male chants while nudging the female's flanks and sniffing her genital region. The male repeatedly attempts to rest his chin on the females rump. In fully receptive females, the male chin resting on her rump stimulates her to stand in the position of copulation. Mating can last up to ten minutes, during which time the spiral penis fits into the grooved cervix and a plug is formed after copulation.
The gestation period lasts roughly four months. When a pregnant female is ready to give birth, she leaves the herd and builds a litter nest on an elevation in the thicket. This nest can have a diameter up to 6 feet and a height of up to 3 feet. It is made of fern fronds, twigs, and dry palm fronds. On the litter nest, 2-8 young are born. In Borneo the number of young is usually only two or three. This small litter size is interesting considering the mother has five pairs of nipples. The coat of the infants is striped, with a dark brown stripe down the middle of the back and three yellowish and three dark brown stripes down the length of each flank. The piglets remain in the nest for ten days before following the mother. Weaning occurs at three months of age, but the piglets remain with their mother for roughly a year.
Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual
Average gestation period: 122 days.
Average number of offspring: 4.
Although the number of Bearded Pigs has declined in recent years due to habitat desruction, it is still fairly common. No exact estimates of population numbers were found.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Due to their lack of shyness during migration and predictable times and routes of migrations, Bearded Pigs are easy prey for native humans. The natives wait along the borders of the migratory routes and hunt the pigs as they come along. The pigs travel in large herds and are relatively defenseless and unable to flee. The Beared Pig is used by natives as a dependable source of meat once a year.
Bornean bearded pig
The Bornean bearded pig (Sus barbatus), also known ambiguously as the bearded pig, is a species of pig. It can be recognized by its prominent beard. It also sometimes has tassels on its tail. It is found in Southeast Asia—Sumatra, Borneo, the Malay Peninsula, and various smaller islands like in Sulu archipelago. where it inhabits rainforests and mangrove forests. The bearded pig lives in a family. It can reproduce from the age of 18 months, and can be cross-bred with other species in the family Suidae. The San Diego Zoo was the first zoo in the Western Hemisphere to breed them. As of January 2011, it is also held in London Zoo, Hellabrunn Zoo, Gladys Porter Zoo, Lowry Park Zoo, National Zoo of Malaysia (Zoo Negara), Zoo Taiping, and [[Singapore Zoo],[[Southwick's Zoo] ].
- S. b. barbatus (the nominate subspecies)
- S. b. oi (the western bearded pig)
As traditionally defined, the nominate is from Borneo, and S. b. oi is from the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. Genetic evidence suggests this is incorrect, and S. b. oi is better limited to Sumatra, leaving bearded pigs from both Borneo and the Malay Peninsula in the nominate subspecies. Those from Bangka Island appear somewhat intermediate between the two subspecies.
The Palawan bearded pig (Sus ahoenobarbus) has formerly been considered a subspecies of the bearded pig. However, as indicated by its genetic and morphological distinctness, under the phylogenetic species concept (which does not use subspecies) it needs to be elevated to full species status; while the situation is less clear under other species concepts (as not all S. barbatus populations have been restudied in modern times), the presently available information seems to favor full species status for S. ahoenobarbus in any case.
- Grubb, P. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Kawanishi, K., Gumal, M. & Oliver, W. (2008). Sus barbatus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 5 April 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of vulnerable.
- ISIS (2011). Sus barbatus. Version 12 Jan 2011
- Lucchini, Meijaard, Diong, Groves and Randi (2005). New phylogenetic perspectives among species of South-east Asian wild pig (Sus sp.) based on mtDNA sequences and morphometric data. J. Zool., Lond. 266: 25–35
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