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| Sus hyle|
|Future of The World|
|This is a part of Future of The World: a collaborative project about our planet's future|
The mud sutty (Sus hyle) is a descendent of the wild boar (Sus scrofa) that took over the niche of Oceanic and Southeast Asian rhinoceroses after their extinction and grew to significantly larger sizes.
The mud sutty is built like a tank. Thick skin provides protection from claws and teeth—the skin on a mud sutty can be up to three centimeters (about an inch) thick. The tusks have greatly enlarged, and are more equivalent to those of a giant forest hog (Hylochoerus meinertzhageni) in proportion. However, the mud sutty still exhibits a lateral fighting style rather than a head-to-head fighting style.
At lengths of up to three meters (about nine feet), the mud sutty is close to the lower bounds for some of the smaller rhinoceroses of old. However, the mud sutty is slightly lighter for its size, weighing only about 400 kg (about 880 lbs). This allows the mud sutty to move more nimbly escape predators: While the rhinoceros might have had few to no predators as an adult, the mud sutty does; swamp lions have been known to take down smaller specimens. The flip side, though, is that the mud sutty is an omnivore and is perfectly willing to eat a swamp lion that it killed in self-defense.
To better live in the marshes and swamps where it sometimes can be found, the mud sutty has wide, splayed feet.
Mud sutties are low-level browsers, similar to the giant forest hog. Their height allows them to reach low-level trees and shrubs easily. While they retain the omnivorous traits of their ancestors and are perfectly willing to eat meat, they don’t make any particular effort to get it, since they don’t need meat to survive. The meat eaten by the mud sutty is for the most part limited to small lizards and any large, fresh kill.
Groups of mud sutties number up to three to four individuals, not counting mothers with piglets, and are called sounders. No real hierarchy exists, since mating never happens within groups and there’s enough food to go around. Group dynamics are fluid, and mud sutties often leave groups to join new ones, or wander off for a time to return later. The group members can keep track of each other by scent marks left on trees, which have smells distinct to an individual.
The mud sutty has three subspecies. The oldest and largest subspecies is the Philippine mud sutty (S. h. phillipinus). The smallest is the Javan mud sutty (S. h. javanensis), with the mid-sized subspecies being from Borneo (S. h. hyle). Despite the Philippine and Borneo mud sutties' resemblence to each other, the Borneo mud sutty is more related to the Javan mud sutty, which has a beard and reddish hair.
In the absence of rhinoceroses, the niche for ‘large herbivore built like a tank’ was left empty, with the candidates being deer, the Malayan tapir, and pigs. Deer were at a substantial disadvantage when exploiting the niche; they were built as the polar opposites of the heavily muscled, armored rhinoceros. Wild boars, however, were equipped with a tough hide and nasty natural weapons already, easily outcompeting the tapir for the niche. The tapir went extinct shortly after, having been whittled down to a very small population that was finally wiped out by a plague.