Tuesday 18 June
Bearded pig (Sus barbatus)
Bearded pig fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Bearded pig description
The bearded pig (Sus barbatus) is named for its distinctive beard of yellowy-white whiskers, which grow from its elongated, narrow jaw (3) (4). The body of the bearded pig is slender, grey or brown and comparatively hairless. The tail ends in two tufts and the legs are long and thin (3) (4) (5). Male bearded pigs are slightly bigger than females and have two pairs of small facial warts (6) (7).
Currently, two subspecies of the bearded pig are recognised: Sus barbatus barbatus and Sus barbatus oi (6) (8). The two are distinguished by their beards. S. b. oi has a short, bristly beard around the snout, whereas S. b. barbatus has long whiskers which grow along the length of the cheeks (6). Until recently, Sus ahoenobarbus (the Palawan bearded pig) was also considered a subspecies of the bearded pig, but it is now considered a species in its own right (6) (8).
When excited, the bearded pig may emit a loud bark (2).
- Also known as
- Western bearded pig.
- Sanglier À Barbe. Top
Philadelphia Zoo – Bearded Pig:
- The flesh of a dead animal.
- Trees of the family Dipterocarpaceae: resinous trees that are found in the old world tropics.
- Evergreen rainforest
- Rainforest consisting mainly of evergreen trees, which retain leaves all year round. This is in contrast to deciduous trees, which completely lose their leaves for part of the year.
- The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
- Of societies in which females dominate and descent is traced through the female line.
- Of mountains, or growing in mountains.
- A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
- Animals with a backbone, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.
IUCN Red List (December, 2010)
- Matsuda, I. and Tuuga, A. (2009) Bearded pig (Sus barbatus) predation on Borneo blood python (Python curtus) in the lower Kinabatangan, northern Borneo. Suiform Soundings, 9: 15-17.
- Prothero, D.R. and Schoch, R.M. (2002) Horns, tusks, and flippers: the evolution of hoofed mammals. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
- Caldecott, J.O., Blouch, R.A. and Macdonald, A.A. (1993) The bearded pig (Sus barbatus). In: Oliver, W.L.R. (Ed.) Pigs, Peccaries and Hippos: Status Survey and Action Plan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
- Setyawati, T., Read, S. and Coulson, G. (2005) A preliminary survey of bearded pig (Sus barbatus) in Malinau river forest, Bulungan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Suiform Soundings, 5(1): 31.
- Groves, C.P. (2001) Taxonomy of wild pigs of Southeast Asia. IUCN/SSC Pigs, Peccaries and Hippos Specialist Group (PPHSG) Suiform Soundings, 1(1): 3.
- Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World. 6th Edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
- Lucchini, V., Meijaard, E., Diong, C.H., Groves, C.P. and Randi, E. (2005) New phylogenetic perspectives among species of South-east Asian wild pig (Sus sp.) based on mtDNA sequences and morphometric data. Journal of Zoology, 266: 25-35.
- Wong, S.T., Servheen, C., Ambu, L. and Norhayati, A. (2005) Impacts of fruit production cycles on Malayan sun bears and bearded pigs in lowland tropical forest of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 21: 627-639.
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Bearded pig biology
The bearded pig consumes a wide array of food types, including the fruits, seeds and roots of oak, chestnut and dipterocarp trees, earthworms, small vertebrates, turtle eggs and carrion (4). On one occasion, a bearded pig was observed feasting on a freshly killed Borneo blood python (Python curtus) (2). The bearded pig often follows troupes of monkeys, taking advantage of the discarded fruit that is thrown to the ground, and in turn is followed by pheasants, which forage on the ground disturbed by the pigs (2) (4).
The bearded pig is the only pig species to undertake an annual migration. The motive for this yearly movement is not yet understood, but is believed to be associated with the search for food (4), such as the fruits of the camphor tree (Dryobalanops aromatica) (1) (4).
The bearded pig lives in large matriarchal herds containing up to 200 individuals (1). Adult males only join the herd to mate. Mating coincides with the flowering and fruiting of forest trees (9). Falling petals may even act as a visual stimulus for mating, signalling the availability of essential nutrition to sustain the energy required for pregnancy and lactation (1).
Following a gestation period of 90 to 120 days, female bearded pigs leave the herd to give birth in large nests constructed from twigs and vegetation (1). The average litter contains 7 or 8 piglets, but may be between 4 and 11 (1). The piglets are born with a stripy coat which serves as camouflage from predators, such as river crocodiles and clouded leopards (2). The offspring remain with their mother for up to a year before reaching sexual maturity between 10 to 20 months (1).Top
Bearded pig range
Historically widespread across the Malay Peninsula of South East Asia, each subspecies of bearded pig is now confined to its own distinct range. S. b. barbatus is most abundant in Borneo, where it is the only native wild pig (6), but small populations also occur on nearby islands in the Sulu Archipelago, in the Philippines (1) (4). S. b. oi is found in West Malaysia, Sumatra, Bangka and the Riau Islands (4).Top
Bearded pig habitatTop
Bearded pig status
The bearded pig is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Bearded pig threats
The main threats to the bearded pig are habitat loss and degradation caused by deforestation and logging (4). The bearded pig is a primary source of protein for local communities and has been hunted sustainably for thousands of years (4). However, habitat loss, and the consequential reduction in food availability (9), has shrunk bearded pig populations to a size that can no longer sustain traditional hunting (5).
The wild boar (Sus scrofa), which inhabits the same area as the bearded pig, is better adapted to human-modified landscapes and there is concern that it may displace the bearded pig if logging and deforestation intensify (1) (4).Top
Bearded pig conservation
In the face of extensive habitat destruction and degradation, reserves remain an important refuge for the bearded pig. In Malaysia, Taman Negara National Park could sustain a large population, but it is not clear whether the species still persists there. It does occur in Endau-Rompin National Park in southern Peninsular Malaysia and Kerinci-Seblat National Park in Sumatra, and is also likely to occur in other protected areas (1) (4).
The Protection of Wildlife Act (1972) prohibits the hunting of bearded pigs without a licence in Peninsular Malaysia, and Section 33 of the Sarawak Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998 prohibits the trade of wild meat. Yet with the species’ numbers rapidly declining, it has been recommended that hunting is regulated and forests are managed to prevent further habitat loss (4).Top
Find out more
Learn more about the bearded pig:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.