Pig Profile: Warthogs

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    In one of my other pig profile articles, I highlighted the babirusa of Southeast Asia, a wild pig with an intimidating appearance, but there\'s another tough pig that is worth discussing. The warthog is a form of pig commonly found in grasslands and plains area of Sub-Saharan Africa, and the pig gets its name from the warts on its face, which comprises of fat pockets for defense and fighting. This is the only form of pig that has adapted to grazing. It is an omnivorous pig that will feed on a variety of foods, including grass, roots, berries, eggs, etc. People who speak Afrikaans of South Africa have labeled the warthog, \"the pig of the plains.\"

    And just like the babirusa, you\'ll notice the two trademark tusks, but the warthog has two side tusks that protrude from the mouth. The warthog also needs to size their incisors down by rubbing against tree bark. They are used for defense against other warthogs and predators, and the sharpness of their lower incisors can cause severe wounds.

    Warthog Description

    You\'ll notice a warthog when you see one by its large head and mane that trails down the back. It is usually brown or black in color, with sparse hair that covers the entire body. They have long tails, with bushy hair at the tip. They are medium-sized pigs, with the female being much smaller, and they have a low body fat content, which makes them vulnerable to harsh weather conditions. This is a burrowing pig that will often find refuge in the burrows of other animals like aardvarks.

    Predators

    The most common predators for the warthog are cheetahs, lions, hyenas, but humans have been a primary foe, due to their ivory tusks. Like elephants, poaching warthog tusks has been a lucrative black market venture for poachers. However, the warthog has been known to hold its own during times of duress. But one friend they do have are mongooses, animals that regularly pitch tent on the backs of warthogs to pick away any parasites like ticks. And warthogs don\'t even mind!

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    Image from Morning Earth

    Young Warthogs

    Warthogs are not territorial animals, but rely on a system of open range grazing. And like the babirusa, the females tend to live in groups to care for the young, while the males embark on their own paths, but remain in the vicinity. A typical range for piglets is 2-4 piglets per litter. Warthog piglets remain close by, but will have to learn quickly. They typically begin grazing at 2-3 weeks, and will start the weaning phase at six months.

    If you ever find yourself in Africa, these are great animals to see firsthand, but always maintain your distance.

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