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Warthog image
Warthog

Warthog

(Mammal)

Warthog Baby
Warthog Baby

Warthog Habits

The warthog lives in a family group called a sounder, consisting of a male and female and one or more successive litters. Its prefered habitat is the open plains and grasslands of Africa, especially where there is a good water source in which it can wallow and drink. It has also been found in the arid Sahel region, bordering the Sahara Desert.
The warthog makes its den either under a rock or in a sheltered burrow, but, more often, it will sleep and breed in abandoned aardvark dens. When the family enters the underground den, the young climb down head first. An adult is always last to enter, and slides in backwards, facing the entrance with its tusks should any predator try to attack. The warthog is renowned for its courage and ferocity in defending its family. The combination of speed (it can run at speed up to 30 miles per hour) and two sets of tusks to fend off most predators. Although it has poor eyesight, it has a good sense of smell and acute hearing. The warthog's only real threat comes from lions and leopards. Adult males, or boars, occasionally fight among themselves, putting on a good show of bravado. With manes bristling, and heads lowered, the boars will push and shove, trying to unbalance their opponent. They can inflict severe wounds with their tusks.

Warthog Communication

Warthogs, like all wild pigs, live highly social lives. They usually forage in family groups accompanied by constant communication in squeaks, squeals, snorts, chirrups, growls and grunts. They also communicate with scent from various glands to mark their ranges and also during courtship and friendly encounters. Their senses of hearing and smell are acute and stronger than their vision. Warthogs signal alarm with snorts and grunts, and also visually with lowered mane and ears, and by running with tails upright.

Warthog Breeding

During breeding season, the male warthog follows the female wherever she goes, often circling her until she is ready to mate. Throughout this courtship ritual, the male makes a noise that sounds like a clattering motor. When the female becomes pregnant, she leaves the family group and finds a den where no other warthogs are living. She gives birth to a litter of two to four young.
The young are grayish pink in color. They are very sensitive to the cold, so to keep warm, they stay huddled together in the den for the first few days. The mother leaves the den for most of the day, returning periodically to feed the young. After a week, the young venture out of the den for short periods, until they eventually return only at night.

Warthog Food & Feeding

The warthog grazes mainly on short grasses and herbs. Because of its short neck, it must get down on its knees to feed. The warthog's eyes are set very high and far back on its forehead, so that it can watch for predators while feeding. It also feeds on leaves and fruit and, in some areas, on bulbs and tubers. Although the warthog is usually silent, it grunts when feeding.

Warthog Key Facts

        Size 
              Height: Length: Body, 46-60 in. Tail, 18 in
              Weight: 130-265 lb
       Breeding
             Sexual maturity: 18 months
             Mating: Begins in the late rainy or early dry season
             Gestation: 171-175 days
             Number of young: 3-4, but up to 7 have been recorded
       Lifestyle 
            Habit: Live in family groups called sounders. Will use abandoned aardvark dens or hollows under rocks
            Diet: Mainly grasses and herbs, but also tubers and bulbs
            Lifespan: 12 years in captivity

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Warthogs wallow in mud to keep cool. They do not have sweat glands.
  • The warthog has a long, tasseled tail which is kept erect when it runs.
  • Although it is usually active only during the day, it will occasionally feed on moonlit nights.
  • A warthog will attack humans if threatened. In 1965, a zookeeper at Duisburg Zoo in West Germany was killed by a warthog thought to be tame.
  • The adult warthog is gray or black, but it may appear red or yellow due to a layer of mud clinging to it.

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