Facts about Warthogs in Africa : Warthogs (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) are not among the animals you can say that are peaceful and less attractive. They are among the pig species living in Africa and there are majorly two warthog types: the desert warthog (Cape warthog) and the common warthog.

These Warthogs are said to have a lifespan of about 15 years. They are daytime animals that spend most of the time searching for food. The commonly live in family groups referred to as sounders and have a weird habit of commonly kneeling on the front-knees especially as they feed or hunting.

Warthogs have a bad vision (although it much better compared to other types of African wild-pigs),

They have a good sense of smell as well as hearing.

Once frightened, they breathe out heavily or grunt, lower their mane, flatten their ears and then sprint off for cover underground.

Physical characteristics

  • The male and female are recognized by their disproportionately huge heads as well as their protective “warts”-thick pads which are visible on each side of their head. Their large tusks are uncommon, whereas the upper two tusks emerge from the edges of the barrel forming a semicircle; the bottom tusks, below the upper ones, are reduced to a simple sharp-cutting edge.
  • Their bodies are covered with sparse bristles; from the top of the head to the middle of the back along the spine are longer bristles.
  • Their tail ends have a clump of more bristles. It is characteristic that the warthogs carry long tail upright while running and the bristles wave like a small flag to the blowing wind.
  • The males are heavier in weight than the males, which weigh between (20 – 50 pounds) more.
  • Their snout is elongated and have a generally flat face. The eyes are positioned up on the head and this helps them to keep watch of predators even as their heads are lowered as they feed.
  • Their skin is in color is either gray or black (or reddish / yellowish after the warthog has been in the mud wallowing).
  • They are very fast runners.

Where do the warthogs live?

Warthog habitat live mainly in dry or moist savannah areas. They do not like high mountains or rainforests. These are mostly spotted in most of the savannah national parks in Africa.

Behavior of the Warthogs

In case there is availability of water, the warthogs are observed to drink frequently and wallowing in the mud, a thing they really love. They love waterholes where they dig in the mud and enjoyably wallow.

As the young ones grow up, their older ones groom them and part of this involves rubbing against termite molds and trees then letting the birds pick off these insects off their backs, and taking sand baths.

They live in family groups comprising of the females and their young ones. Occasionally another female may join the group. The males on the other hand stay alone and only join a group to mate. The two sexes mate with over one partner.

There is a common warthog fighting ritual, which they engage in that involves then clashing their heads when they charge. The fights among the males are normally very aggressive and end into blood being spattered

Ideally, Warthogs enjoy resting and sleeping in holes, which they normally line with grass, presumably to keep warm. Despite the fact that they are good excavators, they don’t dig their rest holes but instead use those dug by other wild animals like the aardvarks.

Facts about Warthogs in Africa
Warthogs in Africa

These are the only specie of pigs that can live in dry areas and survive without water for a number of months. Their bodies can tolerate a temperature that is above their usual body temperature.

Caring for their YoungEach time a female is going to give birth to a new litter, it chases off the litter that it was looking after and isolates itself. These juveniles may for sometime stay alone and later join another loner female.

The Females have four teats, which limits the size of the litter to just four. Each of the piglet then gets its “own” teat that it suckles from exclusively. Actually even aid a piglet dies, the rest wont suckle ‘its’ teat. Normally they suckle for approximately four months, but by 2 months, they begin grazing and that way they get more nourishment.

What do Warthog feed on?

Warthogs are mainly grazers. They have adapted 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.

Predators to the Warthog

A warthog’s top most enemies are leopards plus lions. They protect themselves by fleeing (remember they are good runners) or by sliding back into their holes with their hind parts in first and their heads towards the top such that they can use their frightening tusks to attack any enemies.

book a safari