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Warthog Facts

There are two species of warthog: the common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) and the desert warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus). The life expectancy is between 11.5 years and 15 years.

Warthog Facts

Group of Warthogs

Living in small groups or family they are commonly refereed to as a Sounder

Order

Suiformes

Family

Suidae

warthog family Sounders

Subfamily

Phacochoerinae

No of Teeth

32-34

Gestation

5,5 to 6 months

Physical Characteristics

The warthog has a naked grey skin, covered with bits of bristly hair. Along the backbone there is a little more hair, forming a small mane, and finally, it has a tuft of coarse hair right at the tip of its tail. The face of a warthog is wide and flat, with a long snout and four tusks (two sets). The upper set of tusks is curved into a semi-circle and the lower set sharp. The upper tusk can reach up to 30 cm, the lower tusk can reach 13 cm in length. Warthogs have protective pads on their wrists which help them to knee down and eat. Owing to their short necks and long legs, it is easier for them to kneel while grazing compared to other grazing animals. The length of a grown warthog is between 105 cm and 150 cm, with the height being 55 cm to 85 cm at the shoulder.  Both sexes have distinctive wart-like bumps on their faces, but males these are much more pronounced, with the upper “warts” growing extremely large to protect their eyes during fights with other males in the mating season. One of the main differences come in the weight with sows recording a weight of between 50 kgs and 75 kgs, and boars being between 60 kgs and 150 kgs.

Habitat & Distribution

Warthogs are found in moist and arid savannas, woodlands, and grasslands. They usually find abandoned aardvark holes or natural burrows to live in where they raise their babies, sleep, and hide from looming predators. The burrows also protect them from the varying temperature extremes (from very hot to very cold).  Most of the warthog population is situated in East Africa and Southern Africa.

Warthog Facts & Video

Diet

Warthog are omnivorous animals that feed on mainly grass, roots, tree bark, fruit, eggs, small animals such as insects and on even dead animals. It is easy for them to smell underground food options, they often kneel down and use their muscular snout to dig up their dinner. The warthog is also able to adapt their diet according to resource availability.

Social Behaviour

Sows and boars have very different social behaviors. The sows are sociable creatures and live in matriarchal groups known as sounders. The sounders are usually made up of one or two females and their piglets. The groups occupy home ranges but are not necessarily territorial. The sows communicate with sounds such as grunts, chirrups, growls and sequels, these sounds are a way of greeting, threatening or providing a warning. Males usually form loose bachelor groups, though when reaching adulthood they will leave the group and lead a solitary life. Warthogs enjoy rolling in mud. The reason for rolling in mud is to protect themselves from the sun rays and insect bites – the mud is considered a natural sunscreen and has a cooling down effect.

warthog social behavior

Breeding Behaviour

Both the sows and boars reach sexual maturity at between 18 and 20 months. At this time, the sow may get pregnant however the boar is not usually ready to mate until 4 years old. During mating season, boars fight each other for the sow until the other one gives up and goes into solitary. The gestation period is usually just under 6 months. When the sow is ready to give birth, she looks for a burrow or digs one herself and then lines the burrow with leaves and grasses. The sow gives birth to between 1 and 8 piglets. The piglets stay in the burrow and only start to venture out of the burrow after 10 days. Usually around two or four piglets will survive to adulthood, and mothers who have lost their own litter have been observed nursing foster piglets, a practice known as allosuckling. Interestingly enough, after the breeding process, the boar and sow go their separate ways and look for more breeding partners.

Warthog Facts

Quick Facts

  • Very adaptable to new threats which makes them unlikely to be endangered - for example, most warthogs like to forage during the light of the morning and early evening. But if they live in an area where people hunt them, they switch to foraging at night
  • In order to ensure their safety, and when protecting themselves from pursuing predators, they will slide into a burrow backwards, tail first, so that they can use their tusks to defend themselves against unwanted guests.
  • When startled or threatened, warthogs can be surprisingly fast, running at speeds of up to 50 km per hour.

Identifying Warthogs (Common)

  • Body and snout (broad) are typically like a Pig
  • Little hair brown to grey body
  • Wart like humps bumps on the face
  • Male bumps may be as large as 15 cm
  • Males have upward bent tusk
  • Tail remains erect when running
  • Females have no tusks (tushes)
  • Females have white like hair on lower jaw
  • Males have 2 like warts while females only 1 like wart on their faces.

Warthogs wallow, this is done to keep insects at bay.

See how this Warthog manages to escape from the Wild Dogs

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