It’s Red and Black and Striped All Over  – But Not for Long!

NORFOLK, VA – Tikiti the red river hog is the proud mom to a male piglet. These piglets are born at just 3-4 pounds, have their recognizable red coloring, but are also born with black stripes. The coloring, or camouflage, helps babies blend into their natural forest surroundings to protect from predators, and will fade at about 6 months of age. 5-year-old Tikiti, or “Tiki” for short, is a first-time mom and is bonding well with her newborn. The piglet is nursing and getting accustomed to his surroundings. 

The piglet, who Zoo Keepers are calling Cantaloupe, or “Lou” for short, was born on June 20, 2022. Tikiti actually means watermelon, so the Keepers decided to keep the fruit-name theme. Once fully grown, females typically are between 120 and 155 pounds and males can weigh up to 250 pounds.

Oboi, dad to the piglet, is 15 years old and has been at the Zoo since 2012. The Zoo’s other female red river hog, Mrembo, or “Remy” for short, is a sister to the new mom, Tiki. The sisters came to the Virginia Zoo in 2019 from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The girls were sent to the Virginia Zoo by a breeding recommendation from the Species Survival Plan, which oversees and manages species’ population in zoos by pairing individuals and monitoring breeding to maximize genetic diversity and long-term sustainability of populations.

Neither Oboi or Remy have been introduced to the piglet but are able to see him through the mesh in their night-house stalls. Mom and Lou will be visible in their outdoor habitat in the mornings and Oboi and Remy will be outside in the afternoons. Zoo Keepers will continue to increase the time mom and baby are on exhibit, but they will always have access to their indoor space as both grow comfortable with their new surroundings.

Become a Zoo Parent to Lou, the piglet, by symbolically adopting him. Zoodoptions support various Zoo programs, including the Act for Wildlife conservation fund. Click here to zoo-dopt the baby!