Beautiful-ugly beasties of the bush
Posted on:November 13, 2018
I just adore these beautiful-ugly beasties – the warthog (a.k.a Pumba in the Lion King). These African hogs just ooze character with their warty faces and compact fat bodies. These warts are actually protective bumps, especially useful when the males fight one another with their tusks. These members of the pig family can only be found in Africa. Join me in falling even more in love with these odd little guys as you learn about their fascinating adaptations and habits.
Surprisingly peace-loving, these members of the pig family prefer to run or back into their holes when they smell trouble. Rather than fight, they will often find an abandoned aardvark hole to use as a den.
Fierce and loving mothers, warthog moms (called a sow) raise their young in these dens. They suckle for about 4 months. As their children become more active, they run in a line behind their mothers. Their mothers will back away last into their dens to protect their young, facing tusk outwards to ward off threats. The collective noun for warthogs is a ‘sounder’.
Males (called a boar) tend to be more solitary although young males do socialise in bachelor groups.
I was happy to hear that warthogs are listed as a ‘least concern’ species. The tough little bodies of warthogs are perfectly suited to the African bushveld and they can go for weeks (even months) without water. Their bodies conserve water rather than using it to cool themselves with sweat. However nothing beats a wallow in a delicious mud hole, which offers relief from insects and protection from the hot sun. They have been known to have an unlikely friendship with mongoose (a.k.a. Timone), allowing them to clean ticks off their bodies.
Warthogs are grazers and mostly vegetarian, preferring to eat grasses and plants, often on their front knees. Some of their favourite delicacies are roots or bulbs, which they dig for using their noses, feet and tusks.
They do not have great vision, hence their eyes are set high up in their heads so that they may keep a lookout for enemies while eating on the ground.
From your stay at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge in the spectacular Hluhluwe-iMfolozi game reserve, I hope you get to watch with delight as a family of warthog run in a line through the Africa bush, tails in the air.