Warthog

This species gets its name from the warty protuberances located on the sides of the head and in front of the eyes, found only in the males. These powerful animals have large heads in proportion to the rest of their bodies, and both males and females have sharp tusks.

Unlike most species of wild pig, warthogs are active during the day, except in areas where they are likely to be attacked by humans. There they change to a nocturnal lifestyle in order to avoid human contact. When sleeping or rearing young, warthogs take refuge in holes -often those made by aardvarks.

In male warthogs, the upper tusks can exceed 60cm (24in) In length. However, it Is the smaller and sharper lower tusks that are the warthog's main weapon. Curiously, warthogs kneel down to feed on grass and roots.

If attacked by predators such as hyenas or lions, warthogs flee to the nearest available hole, backing into it so that they can face their attackers with their vicious tusks. Warthogs sometimes come together in groups called sounders, usually numbering 4-16 individuals. Although they are fairly abundant throughout their range, people hunt warthogs for their meat and to stop them eating crops. This poses a threat to warthog populations.

Warthogs eat short grass, fruit, bulbs, tubers, roots and occasionally small mammals and carrion.

Distribution: Throughout Africa from Mauritania to Ethiopia, and southward to Namibia and eastern South Africa.

Habitat: Savannah and open woodland.

Food: Grass, roots, berries, and sometimes carrion.

Size: 0.9 - 1.5 m (3 - 5 ft); 50 - 150 kg (110 - 330 lb).

Maturity: 18 - 20 months.

Breeding: 1 - 8 young.

Life span: Can exceed 18 years in captivity.

Status: Abundant, but the subspecies P a. aeliani is classified as endangered.

Gallery of Warthog