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Safari Africa Animal Fact Sheet
WARTHOG
Phacochoerus aethiopicus

Range:
Africa, south of the Sahara

When sows are in estrus they will urinate often, that will discolor the rear, and will adopt a mating stance. Males will follow in a springy, hip-rolling gait, tail out and bent down, meanwhile clacking. Clacking is a chugging noise produced by clicking tongue or tusks, producing lots of saliva. Sows isolate to give birth, then stay underground nurturing 2-5 hairless piglets for the first week. Except for brief excursions or to change dens, piglets remain in burrows 6-7 weeks, after which they follow mother everywhere, filing behind her in a fixed order. Begin grazing within 2-3 weeks, continue nursing briefly every 40 minutes or so from 3-6 weeks; weaned by 6 months. Mother and offspring greet one another nose-to-nose and with explosive grunts. She summons piglets from burrow with soft, low grunts. Any squeaking or churring of small piglets expresses discomfort or distress. Playful interaction of young mostly involves sparring and aggressive displays.

Are diurnal. Except during rutting season, they live in small groups called sounders consisting of 1 or 2 sows and young offspring. During the day adult boars may join these groups; however, boars usually stay by themselves. Group members greet after separation with explosive grunts and nose-to-nose contact. They social groom by stripping the long mane hair through lips or incisors. To solicit grooming, one lies down before another. They are vulnerable to cold and dampness, especially the young, because they lack subcutaneous fat or insulating hair; thus they need deep burrows that are sometimes lined with grass. Usually use abandoned aardvark dens. At night they will back into their den so that in the morning they will burst out speeding to avoid any predator, such as a waiting lion. When temperatures are high, they rest in the shade, or take mud baths.

Rank and order is established at an early age. When alarmed will grunt, growl, and oomph sounds when startled; squeal if distressed. Warthogs would rather run than fight, but when fighting other warthogs, rarely use their canines, but push with their broad noses and foreheads. They seldom harm each other. Run up to 34 mph.

Predators are lions, leopards, and cheetahs. Hyenas sometimes attack them, but they have also been seen resting together. They are hunted for meat by humans.

Warthogs allow birds, such as yellow hornbills, to eat parasites that live on their bodies. This symbiotic relationship allows the birds to have a constant food source and hogs to rid themselves of pests. Warthogs are rooting animals and are beneficial to the land by churning up soil and allowing it to be aerated, which aids in plant growth.



Habitat: Savannah, light bush, and grass steppes (unforested)
Diet: Mainly consists of different kinds of grass, but may sometimes eat berries and bark of young trees. During drought they eat bulbs, roots, and carrion.
Status: Stable. They do suffer from a variety of diseases, most serious being rinderpest, which have killed large numbers in the past. Exterminated in some farming areas since they are a reservoir for African swine fever.
Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

Length: 2.9-4.9 feet
Weight: 110-330 lbs.

Boars have more prominent warts than sows. Used to protect the face during fights. Molar teeth and jaw are modified for grinding grasses. Upper canines grow long, first to the side, then upward and inward. Straight and shorter lower canines grind against lower edge of uppers to form sharp edged stilettos that can seriously injure predators. Hard-edged, spade-like snout disk uncovers rhizomes (horizontal roots and shoots) of grasses, sedges, tubers, and bulbs in dry season

Lifespan: In wild: 10-12 years. In captivity: Over 18 years
Reproduction & Offspring: Sexual maturity: 18-20 months. Gestation: 170-175 days.

 

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