Comparative digestion studies in wild suids at Rotterdam Zoo

Zoo Biology volume 27, issue 4, 2008
Among the artiodactyla, the suids are a group whose digestive physiology has hardly been investigated. The apparent digestibilities (aD) of macronutrients were measured in captive specimens of warthog, red river hog and Visayan warty pigs.
The aD of warthog (Phacochoerus africanus), red river hog (Potamochoerus porcus), and Visayan warty pigs (Sus cebifrons) were compared with those reported for babirusa (Babyrousa babyrussa) from the same facility on a similar diet. The animals were fed mixed diets of pelleted feed, grains, fruits, and vegetables; dietary neutral detergent fiber (NDF) ranged from 17 to 26% dry matter. aD of organic matter and protein ranged from 72 to 89 and 70 to 82%, respectively. Although red river hogs and warty pigs achieved aD of NDF of 41-54%, this value was higher both in warthogs (63-66%) and babirusa (61-63%). aD of acid detergent fiber was comparatively low in red river hogs (4%), warty pigs (22%), and babirusa (13-25%) but high in warthog (59-62%). Comparison with additional literature data (including peccaries) indicates that in spite of differences in digestive anatomy, suids and peccaries are similar, and resemble other herbivores in fundamental characteristics, such as the negative influence of fiber on overall digestibility, or the positive influence of dietary protein on protein digestion. Although the existing data are equivocal as to a superior fiber digestion in peccaries as compared with other wild suids, the results suggest that warthogs are more efficient than other wild suids or peccaries in terms of fiber digestion.

Title: Comparative digestion studies in wild suids at Rotterdam Zoo

Authors: Marcus Clauss, Joeke Nijboer, Jochem H. M. Loermans, Thomas Roth, Jan Van der Kuilen, Anton C. Beynen