Scientific Name: Phacochoerus africanus
Family group: Suidae
Age: 20 years
Average shoulder height: .70 m (28”)
Average mass: 80 kg (176 lb)
Habitat: Areas with short grass and mud pools. Prefers open woodland, grass plains (especially floodplains), vleis and open areas surrounding pans and waterholes. Likes areas where new grass grows following a fire. Avoids dense thickets and forest areas.
Diet: Grass, rhizomes and wild fruit. Drinks water regularly when available.
Breeding: 5 months, with one to eight young.
Vocalization: Growls, snorts and grunts. The male snaps its jaws as an overture to mating
A warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth, which are used as weapons against predators. The upper canine teeth can grow to 9 inches (23 cm), and are of a squashed circle shape in cross section, almost rectangular, being about 1¾ in (4.5 cm) deep and 1 in (2.5 cm) wide. The tusk will curve 90 degrees or more from the root, and the tusk will not lie flat on a table, as it curves somewhat backwards as it grows. The tusks are used for digging, for combat with other hogs, and in defence against predators—the lower set can inflict severe wounds.
Warthog ivory is taken from the constantly growing canine teeth. Each warthog has a pair of teeth in each jaw with the lower teeth being far shorter than the upper teeth. Both pairs grow upwards, with the upper teeth being by far the more spectacular in appearance. The lower pair, however, are the more dangerous: the teeth are straight, sharply pointed, and keep a keen edge by the upper pair rubbing against the lower pair. The tusks, more often the upper set, are worked much in the way of elephant tusks with all designs scaled down. Tusks are carved predominantly for the tourist trade in East and Southern Africa.
The male is called a boar, the female a sow, and the young piglets. A group is called a sounder.
Warthogs are powerful diggers, using both heads and feet. When feeding, they often bend the front legs backwards and move around staying on the knees. Although they can dig their own burrows, they commonly occupy abandoned burrows of aardvarks or other animals. The warthog commonly enters burrows “back-end first”, with the head always facing the opening and ready to burst out as needed. Warthogs are fast runners and quite capable jumpers. They will often run with their tails in the air. Despite poor eyesight, warthogs have a good sense of smell, which they use for locating food, detecting predators and recognizing other animals.
Although capable of fighting, and males will aggressively fight each other during mating season, a primary defense is to flee by means of fast sprinting. The main warthog predators are humans, lions, leopards, crocodiles, and hyenas. Cheetahs are also capable of catching small warthogs.
Scientific Name: Potamochoerus Porcus
Family group: Suidae
Age: 20 years
Average shoulder height: .75 m (30”)
Average mass: 65 kg (145 lb)
Habitat: Thick shelter and water are essential. Prefers coastal, mountainous and riverine forests, thickets, reed patches and tall grass near water. Found only under these conditions, even in dry country.
Diet: They are Omnivorous and their diet could include roots, crops, carrion, as well as newborn lambs. Digs in soft soil for rhizomes, bulbs and tubers. Also eats earthworms, vegetables, chikens, leaves and wild fruit that have fallen.
Breeding: 4 months, with three to eight young.
Vocalization: Groans while eating. Alarm call is a long protracted growl.
The Bushpig (Potamochoerus larvatus) is a very hairy member of the pig family that lives in forest thickets, riverine vegetation and reedbeds close to water. They are mainly nocturnal and are seldom seen during the day. They resemble the domestic pig and are identified by the blunt, muscular snout, small eyes, and pointed, tufted ears. Their colour varies from reddish-brown to dark brown and becomes darker with age. Both sexes have a lighter coloured mane which bristles when the animal becomes agitated. The upper parts of the face and ears are also lighter in colour. Sharp tusks are not very long and are not conspicuous. Unlike the Warthog, the Bushpig runs with its tail down. Males are normally larger than females.
The Bushpig should not be confused with the Red River Hog, Potamochoerus porcus.
Bushpigs are quite social animals and are found in sounders of up to 12 members. A typical group will consist of a dominant male and a dominant female, with other females and juveniles accounting for the rest. Litters of 3-4 young are born in summer after a gestation period of ± 4 months. Bushpigs can be very aggressive, especially when they have young.