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Warthog

Warthog
Phacochoerus aethiopicus

Family:

Suidae, the pig family.

Conservation Status:

Least Concern, IUCN.

Distribution:

Sub-Saharan Africa, widely distributed in east Africa.

Habitat:

Savannas, open woodlands and plains

Factoid:

Because of moving and feeding on their knees, warthogs develop thick calluses on their wrists.

Warthogs are grey with sparse, bristly hair, a long mane, a tail tuft and a large head with facial warts, more pronounced in males, which provide protection from the tusks of opponents. Small eyes set high in the head allow them to see over grass when kneeling to graze. Their sense of smell and hearing are good but they have poor eyesight. Warthogs have relatively long legs, which allow them to run faster than most pigs.

Warthogs pluck grass with incisors or lips, using their tough snouts to dig up rhizomes, tubers and insect larvae when savanna soils are dry.

Warthogs live in burrows, often abandoned aardvark burrows and when threatened, they run to the nearest burrow, backing into it on the run, to present their sharp lower tusks to the predator. This gives them protection from most predators other than lions and leopards.

Gestation is approximately 6 months with piglets–generally 2-4 per litter–being weaned at 4 months. Newborns remain in the burrow for about 2 weeks where temperature and humidity are relatively constant and remain close to the burrow for several more weeks before joining the matriarchal group which shares feeding grounds, water holes, wallows, resting sites and sleeping dens. Males are solitary or part of a bachelor group.

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