Wild Fact #681 – This is What Happens When You Play with Toads – Warthog

Photo from Wikimedia

You made it just in time for the last Wild Fact of the week.  Okay, so there is still plenty of time to read today’s fact since it will be archived for years but I just wanted a catchy opening line today. We are headed to the desert and shrub-lands of Africa to learn about the Warthog.  There are two different species of Warthog.  The first is the Common Warthog which can usually be found in the northern parts of Africa while their cousin, the Desert Warthog is found in the southern region. We will just be looking at the general characteristics for both Warthog species.

The Warthog is a large sturdy member of the pig family that probably won’t be winning any beauty contests anytime soon.  One of their downfalls to victory include the “warts” found on their large, flat head.  Just so you know these are not actual warts but instead protective bumps.  That sounds like something a mother would say to her warty child.  It is probably safe to assume that these “warts” lead to the name of this particular pig species.

I urge you to use caution if you are planning on poking fun at the unusual appearance of the Warthog.  Although they are grazers and not nearly as aggressive as they look, I wouldn’t want to test them.  They have four sharp tusks and the power and knowledge to use them.  These tusks can be used for self-defense but they also make surprisingly great shovels.  The Warthog will often use them to dig burrows or to get to the bulbs and roots of plants.  Who would have thought that a pig would be so proficient at digging?

Photo by D. Gordon & E. Robertson (Wikicommons)

If you are lucky enough to see one Warthog there is probably a good chance you will see more.  This is because these pigs prefer the company of other individuals so they form small family groups called sounders.  Generally these families will have a few females with their young and one male who will protect the group and mate.  What most scientific papers fail to mention is how this poor male never gets to kick back and watch football or hang out with the guys since he has several females and kids to protect.  It is a tough life for the male Warthog.

Warthog Fast Fact – Although they have the large tusks and are capable of defending themselves the Warthog usually relies on its speed to escape the clutches of their predators.  Just how fast can this large pig run?  Would you be surprised if I told you they are capable of running 48 km/hr (30 mph).  Not too shabby for a pig.

Thanks for following Wild Facts this week.  I hope all of you have an exciting weekend.

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