Phacochoerus aethiopicus - The Warthog

Neither graceful nor beautiful, warthogs are however, remarkable animals. They are the only pigs able to live in areas without water for several months of the year. Warthogs are found in most of Africa south of the Sahara and are widely distributed in East Africa. They are the only pigs able to live in areas without water for several months of the year. By tolerating a higher-than-normal body temperature, the warthog is perhaps able to conserve moisture inside its body that might otherwise be used for cooling.

Did you know? Having neither fur nor fat, the warthog lacks both protection from the sun and insulation from cold.

Males weigh 20 to 50 pounds more than females, but both are distinguished by disproportionately large heads and the warts-thick protective-pads that appear on both sides of the head. Two large pairs of warts occur below the eyes, and between the eyes and the tusks, and a very small pair is found near the jaw (usually just in males).

Did you know? Warthogs can survive for months on end without water.

The face is fairly flat and the snout elongated. Eyes set high on the head enables the warthog to keep a lookout for predators even when it lowers its head to feed on short grass. The warthog's large tusks are unusual: The two upper ones emerge from the sides of the snout to form a semicircle; the lower tusks at the base of the uppers are worn to a sharp cutting edge.

Size

Stands 30 inches at the shoulder.

Weight

120 to 250 pounds.

Habitat

Warthog are found in moist and arid savannas avoiding deserts and high mountains.

Distribution

The comical, but robust warthog can be seen at many of the South African game parks. These include the acclaimed Pilanesberg National Park just outside Sun City near Johannesburg, the Dwesa and Cwebe Nature Reserve in the Transkei (not far from Coffee Bay), the Shongweni Resources Reserve in KZN (between Durban and Pietermaritzburg), and the Eastern Cape’s private game reserves of Kwantu and Pumba.

Diet - Omnivore

Mainly a grazer the warthog has an interesting practice of kneeling on its calloused, hairy, padded knees to eat short grass. Using its snout and tusks, it also digs for bulbs, tubers and roots during the dry season.

Socialisation

Warthogs live in small family groups composed of a female and her young and at times, will be joined by another, related family. Males tend to live singly and only join up with these family groups in order to mate.
Before giving birth to a new litter, the female warthog will chase away the litter she has been raising. These ousted juveniles then form their own group, sometimes joining up with another female before venturing out on their own.

Reproduction

Litter sizes are usually four (or less) as the mother has only four teats. Each piglet has its own teat, suckling exclusively from it, to the poit that if an individual piglet should die, the others do not suckle on that teat.

Predators

  • Crocodiles
  • Hyenas
  • Leopards
  • Lions

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