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Warthog

Warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) - Long-legged, fast and not at all defenceless

Warthogs are extremely long-legged - not at all common concerning a pig species. Other very unique markings are the naming three pairs of warts: Two are located in the area around the eyes and one near the lower jaw. Noticeable is the reddish neck- and back-mane. The upper canine teeth are the longest and strongest among all pig species; they might reach a length up to 60 cm in adult males. Male Warthogs reach weigths up to 140 kg and lengths up to 150 cm. They are about 20% larger than the females. Warthogs inhabit steppes and savannas south of the Sahara. They prefer open areas without a lot of trees and bushes. They still can be found in quite large numbers and are not endangered at the moment. Warthogs feed on grass and seeds, exceptionally take fruits and from time to time even carrion.

Like all pig species, Warthogs are very social animals. They live in quite small groups. Mostly they consist of a few females, sometimes just of one single female, with young. Single adult males often join these groups. The group inhabits gound holes, which have been dug and later have been left by Aardvarks. These holes serve as optimal climatic chambers in a landscape that is marked by wide fluctuations in temperature: At night, when the outside temperatures can be quite low, it is still pleasantly warm inside the hole, whereas it is also protecting the Warthogs from the extreme heat at noon. The Warthog groups leave their holes for migrations that often take them to water-holes, where they wallow intensivly, i.e. covering themselves with mud to get rid of parasites. Like all pigs Warthogs are "contact animals" - they like lying close to each other, which also protects them from losing body heat. A lot of social behaviours like social grooming are known. Warthogs give birth to 1 up to 8 young. Mostly there are just 4 piglets which survive, since the females just have 4 teats. The young stay with their mother for about 2 years.

Warthogs are a much sought-after prey for a lot of predators inhabiting the savannas. Among those are Leopards, Lions, Cheetahs, African hunting dogs, Hyenas and Eagles. But Warthogs are not at all defenceless: the lower canine teeth are sharp weapons. In addition Warthogs are not among the slowest animals; their long legs enable them to reach maximum speeds up to 55 km/h. Their eyes are located at a very high position. Thus Warthogs are able to make out predators from quite a distance.


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