The Sacramento Zoo’s red river hog family grew over the weekend. Sunday afternoon, the sow gave birth to four hoglets, two male and two female, each weighing between 2 to 2.5 pounds. Full-grown hogs weigh between 120 and 250 pounds.
The zookeepers named the males Poe and Kylo and the females Finn and Rey after the popular science fiction Star Wars movie released last year.
Zoo spokesperson Tonja Candelaria says there are a lot of Star Wars fans employed at the zoo. This isn’t the first time zookeepers drew from the movie for animal names, they have two Himalayan monal pheasants named Luke and Leia, an aardvark named Padme and a grey fox named Lando.
“This is the third litter for the mom and dad - this is her first time with four," says Candelaria. "She’s a really good mom."
The family will be off-exhibit for a week and then the youngsters will be allowed to explore the enclosure and greet the public. The hoglets will most likely stay at the zoo for up to a year and then be transfered to another accredited zoo in the United States.
Red river hogs are native to the tropical forests of Central and West Africa and while not technically endangered the species is declining due to habitat loss and hunting.
The hoglets have brown and yellowish stripes to help camouflage in the wild. These stripes prompted zoo staff to call them “round little watermelons.” After about three months the stripes fade and are replaced by brownish reddish fur.