Home | Ungulates | About Us | Glossary | Links | Search | Contact Us
An Ultimate Ungulate Fact Sheet
Sus barbatus
Bearded pig
Click on the pictures above for larger views of the photographs
Quick Facts Detailed Information References




Common name:
Scientific name:
Other names:
Bearded pig
Sus barbatus
Sanglier à moustache, Bartschwein, Nangoi, Babi putih

Physical Characteristics

Head and body length: 137-152 cm (males), 122-148 cm (females)
Shoulder height: 70-90 cm
Tail length: 17-26 cm
Adult weight: 57-83 kg, up to 120 kg (rarely 200 kg)

Bearded pigs are large and long-legged pigs; males are only slightly larger than females. The sparsely-haired body is generally pale gray in appearance, but the color may vary from reddish-brown, dark brown, or very pale depending on location and individual condition. The tail has a distinctive tuft comprised of two rows of bristly hair. The face is elongated, and there is a "beard" of coarse, bushy hairs on the bridge of the nose and cheeks. The beard is more pronounced in males, with hairs up to 15 cm long. The whitish color of the beard (often yellow- or silver-tinted) is intensified by dark skin between the beard and the nasal disc and around the eyes. Males develop two pairs of facial warts, but these are small and hidden within the beard; they are absent in females. Both sexes have sharp tusks which may grow to 25 cm long in males. The ears are small and pointed.

Similar species
  • The Eurasian wild pig (Sus scrofa), which shares the bearded pig's range in Malaya and Sumatra, is smaller and lacks the distinctive facial hair of the bearded pig.
  • The Palawan bearded pig (Sus ahoenobarbus) is smaller in size than the bearded pig, and has a very restricted range. Visually, the two can be distinguished by their beads - the Palawan bearded pig's facial hair is most developed on the jowls, while the bearded pig's hair is bushiest over the bridge of the nose.

Reproduction and Development

Gestation period: 90-120 days estimated in the wild; in captivity, reports vary from 100-160 days.
Litter size: Highly variable, typically 7-9. Small females may only produce 3-4, while large, well-conditioned females may have as many as 12 piglets.
Weaning: Unknown. Piglets begin testing solid foods at just a few weeks of age.
Sexual maturity: Females at 10-20 months.
Life span: At least 13 years in captivity.
In the wild, bearded pigs appear to breed year-round, with a noted peak in mating activity when fruit trees end their flowering cycle. This results in births occuring when fruits are especially plentiful. Prior to giving birth, a female will build a large, deep nest out of foliage; newborn piglets remain within the nest for about a week after birth. Mothers are very protective of their offspring and will chase away any intruders, including other bearded pigs. Infants have a distinctive pattern of pale stripes which begins to fade at approximately 5 weeks of age (hair growth on the face also begins at this time). Females may be able to raise two litters within a year when food is plentiful.

Ecology and Behavior

Bearded pigs are typically most active in the morning and late afternoon. Midday is spent wallowing in mud, resting, or sleeping. In areas inhabited by humans, bearded pigs may shift to a nocturnal existence, particularly if they take to raiding crops. This species regularly follows gibbons and macaques, feeding on fruit that is dropped or dislodged by the primates. Bearded pigs swim well, including between oceanic islands, and are good climbers and jumpers, even when young. Bearded pigs have unusual population dynamics which are still not fully understood. Populations are typically small and dispersed, but on occasion very large migratory groups (over a hundred individuals) have been observed. These large-scale movements, which may cover 30-600 km, seem to be in response to mass fruiting events in the forest. Breeding success is highly correlated with excellent fruiting years, and the resulting population explosion may force the pigs to keep migrating in order to find sufficient food. Unfortunately, such migrations are no longer seen in heavily-logged regions.

Family group: Maternal families (mother and young), which often join up to form larger herds - up to several hundred individuals have been recorded. Adult males are typically solitary except for breeding.
Diet: Omnivorous; primarily fruit, but also roots, nuts, vegetation, and animal matter (invertebrates and carrion).
Main Predators: Tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, pythons.

Habitat and Distribution

Tropical rainforests in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo, as well as a few smaller islands. The approximate range is depicted in the map below.

Range Map
(redrawn from Kawanishi, Gumal, and Oliver, 2008)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List: Vulnerable (2008).
CITES Listing: Not listed (2011).
Threats: Hunting (for meat) and habitat destruction; bearded pigs seem particularly affected by the logging of fruiting trees, a principal food source.

Populations in peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra (Sus barbatus oi) have decreased substantially in recent years, although Bornean bearded pigs (S. b. barbatus) still appear to be widespread.

Quick Facts Detailed Information References