Our Beautiful World

Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus

Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus massaicus), male, Serengeti NP, Tanzania

Photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson [2]

The Warthog or Common Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus, is a wild member of the pig family that lives in grassland,
savanna, and woodland in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the past it was commonly treated as a subspecies of P. aethiopicus,
but today that scientific name is restricted to the Desert Warthog of northern Kenya, Somalia, and eastern Ethiopia.

The common name comes from the four large wart-like protrusions found on the head of the warthog, which serve the purpose of defence when males fight as well as a fat reserve.

Nolan Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus africanus – Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo,          Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan
Eritrean Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus aeliani, – Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia
Central African Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus massaicus, – Kenya, Tanzania
Southern Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus sundevallii, – Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe

Female warthog with young in the northern serengeti [3]

Warthogs range in size from 0.91 to 1.5 m (3.0 to 4.9 ft) in length and 50 to 75 kg (110 to 170 lb) in weight.
A warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards.
The lower pair, which is far shorter than the upper pair, becomes razor sharp by rubbing against the upper pair
every time the mouth is opened and closed.

The warthog is the only pig species that has adapted to grazing and savanna habitats. Its diet is omnivorous,
composed of grasses, roots, berries and other fruits, bark, fungi, eggs and carrion.

The main warthog predators are humans, lions, leopards, crocodiles, and hyenas.
Cheetahs are also capable of catching small warthogs. However, if a female warthog has any piglets to defend she
will defend them very aggressively. Warthogs can inflict severe wounds on lions, sometimes ending with the lions
bleeding to death.

Warthogs have been observed allowing banded mongooses to groom them to remove ticks.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warthog
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Warthog,_male,_Serengeti.jpg
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Female_warthog_with_young.jpg
  4. Video credits © BBC Natural History Unit. Audio credits © BBC Natural History Unit
  5. Video and audio credits © BBC Natural History Unit



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