They look pretty fierce and aggressive, and that’s just how warthogs can be: their long, curved canine teeth make them very defensive animals.
What Do Warthogs Look Like?
The warthog is a little like our wild boar. However, it has a very large head. Most conspicuous are the curved and 35 to 60 centimeters long lower canine teeth, which are called tusks. There are also three pairs of large warts, up to 15 centimeters long, located on the head between the eyes and the snout. They give the warthog its name. The warts are not made of bone but of cartilaginous skin and are not connected to the skull bones. The snout is long, the trunk short and strong. The eyes are small and the ears are short.
Warthogs are up to 80 centimeters high on the back. Females (Bachen) measure 120 to 140 centimeters from head to bottom, males (boars) 130 to 150 centimeters. Females weigh up to 145 kilograms, males up to 150 kilograms. The body is cylindrical, the legs relatively thin. The thin tail is up to 50 centimeters long and has a tassel at the end. The animals are hairy with black-brown or gray bristles. However, the fur is so thin that the gray skin shows through. The animals have a long mane on their backs and necks.
Where do warthogs live?
Warthogs are native to sub-Saharan Africa. They occur from southern Mauritania through Senegal to Ethiopia and south to South Africa. Some of them live at altitudes of up to 3000 meters. Warthogs prefer savannas, grasslands, and light forests as habitats.
What types of warthogs are there?
The warthog belongs to the order of even-toed ungulates and there to the family of real pigs. Together with the desert warthog, it forms the warthog genus.
How old do warthogs get?
Warthogs live ten to twelve years, in captivity even up to 20 years.
How do warthogs live?
Warthogs are diurnal animals. However, during the hot midday period, they rest in the shade of trees and bushes. They spend the night in burrows. They mostly use the burrows of aardvarks, but also small rock caves. Warthogs are gregarious and live in family groups of four to 16 animals. These groups, also called packs, consist of several females with their offspring.
Often several groups combine to form a large group. The adult males, the boars, often live a little apart from the group. Once a couple has found each other, they usually stay together for life. Before giving birth, the females withdraw from the group and look for a hole in the ground. There, after a gestation period of almost six months, they usually give birth to two to three, sometimes even younger.
The animals are very social, grooming themselves by rubbing their flanks together. If the groups of a large group meeting, the animals greet each other with grunts and also rub against each other. The animals love to bathe in the mud – it cares for their skin.
When in danger or when attacking other animals or humans, they raise their mane hairs and tail with the tassel. Because the tail then looks a bit like an antenna, the warthog has been nicknamed “Radio Africa”. The animals protect each other. When fleeing or attacking an opponent, they can run at speeds of up to 50 kilometers per hour for short periods of time. Warthogs use their canine teeth to defend themselves well. They even take on big cats like leopards.
Friends and foes of the warthogs
Warthogs’ enemies are lions, leopards, hyenas, and hyena dogs. Young animals are also endangered by jackals or birds of prey.
How Do Warthogs Breed?
Warthogs can have cubs twice a year. They mate in early summer. During this time the males will fight each other for a female. Mighty warts serve as a protective shield. However, the boars do not use their dangerous tusks in these fights, they only use them to threaten the competitor.
Once a couple has found each other, they usually stay together for life. Before giving birth, the females withdraw from the group and look for a hole in the ground. There, after a gestation period of almost six months, they usually give birth to two to three, sometimes even younger.
The young have a dense, short coat and can stand upright from the start. After just one week, they accompany their mother when she is looking for food. They are nursed for a total of three months. After this time, the mother and cubs go back to the group. Male cubs leave the mother at about 15 months, females stay longer or even stay with the mother’s group. The young become sexually mature at the age of two to three years.
What Do Warthogs Eat?
Although warthogs are omnivores, they mainly feed on plant foods such as grasses and herbs. When they eat grass, because they have quite long legs, they crouch on their wrists to graze and slither along bit by bit. Because they prefer short grasses, they often share their territory with animals that eat long grasses.
They also feed on roots and tubers, which they dig out of the ground with their powerful tusks. There are also berries and tree bark. From time to time they also eat carrion.