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 Red River Hogs & Gaboon Viper (1994)

Acrylic on illustration board
20" x 30"

 "Red river hog" is the moniker usually given to the rust-colored form of the bushpig (Potamocheiros porcinus) that occurs in the forests of West Africa. In this painting three of these swine confront a large snake on the floor of a deciduous woodland. Although capable of inflicting a lethal bite, the phlegmatic, mild-mannered gaboon viper (Bitis gabonicus) is the likely dark horse in this standoff. Like their barnyard cousins, bushpigs will consume nearly anything organic. They roam in groups of up to two dozen individuals, rooting through the soil in search of food. Through much of Africa they havee increased their numbers as humans have killed off most of their main predators, the leopards, and the spread of agriculture has expanded the area of prime habitat for the pigs. Among the many incidental creatures sharing the setting are: a peripatus (Peripatus sp.), giant snails (Achatina sp.), goliath beetle (Goliathus giganteus), giant swallowtail (Drurya antimachus) and a small sedge frog (Hyperolius sp.).