Status: No special status.
Size: Height 2.5 ft., 3.5 to 4.5 ft. in length, 120 to 245 lbs.
Characteristics: Social, outgoing, active by day.
Area: Africa, south of the Sahara.
Offspring: Litter of one to eight.
Predators: Cheetah, wild dog, lion, spotted hyena.
· Their name comes from the four large warts on the sides of their heads.
· Both male and female warthogs have tusks.
· Related mother warthogs (sisters, mothers and daughters) sometimes nurse each other’s offspring.
· Warthogs only fight predators if cornered—they usually prefer to flee.
Warthogs are gregarious animals that live in groups called “sounders” which are made up of a family of related hogs. The groups are usually made of a male and female and their offspring, sometimes from more than one litter, but it may be made up of all males, especially when they are young males who have not yet chosen a mate. Although their diet consists mainly of vegetation (grass, bark, fruit, roots), warthogs have large, curved canines in their upper jaws. The colour of their skin is grey or brown with black or white coarse bristles. They can run at speeds of 30 mph or more when threatened but usually trot, running with their tails upright. Unlike other wild pigs, they are mostly active during the day, but can become nocturnal in areas inhabited by humans. Warthogs have extremely short necks and need to kneel on their forelegs to graze. Males are larger than females and have larger warts on their heads as well as larger tusks. The tusks are used for protection against predators and are not usually used in fights with other warthogs. They’re very social animals who rub against each other and groom together. Warthogs communicate using grunts, growls, snorts and squeals. They dig using their snouts, but usually live in burrows created by aardvarks, entering backwards to watch out for predators. Warthogs are hunted by humans for their tusks and for meat. Although they’re not listed as endangered or at risk, numbers have declined since the late 1800s. Some countries have recently passed conservation laws to protect their warthog populations.
Warthogs live in Africa, south of the Sahara in open country with access to water, including the savannas of Ghana, Somalia, and South Africa. They need to drink daily and also wallow in mud or water to escape the heat. They’re not territorial, and may live in areas that include more than one family group as well as lone animals.
Males aren’t usually accepted by a female until they reach 4 years of age. Mating seasons vary, depending on the local rainy seasons. Females give birth in a burrow to a litter of 1–8 (but usually 2–5) piglets, 5.5 months after conception. The youngsters nurse for up to four months but will begin to exit the burrow to eat grass at only one week. The piglets will follow their mothers, single file, on longer trips when they reach almost two months. Male offspring will leave their parents at about 15 months to join a bachelor herd. Daughters may stay with their mother’s herd for years, and even after finding a mate, may stay in the home range for life.