28 August 2018
Warthogs: 10 fascinating facts

Luke Street

Warthogs are without a doubt one of the weirdest looking animals found in the Timbavati, but they always bring a smile to the faces of the guests. During the winter months, Tanda Tula Safari Camp’s delicious manicured lawn entices them to such an extent that they spend all day nibbling on the grass outside our luxury tents.

Below are 10 interesting facts about the weird and wonderful warthog.

  1. Contrary to popular belief, or thanks to Disney, warthogs do not saunter around the bush with a small meerkat singing at the top of their lungs. However, this is easy to imagine.
  2. They do, however, cruise around the bush at break neck speeds! Often reaching over 40km per hour, possibly reaching 48km per hour. That’s faster than Usain Bolt!
  3. Of course, this speed is greatly needed when you form a very integral part of the food chain. All manner of predators from lions to hyenas and leopards are interested in eating these tasty pigs.
  4. Luckily, warthogs are equipped with a bit of weaponry to deal with such encounters. Just like elephants, they have tusks which can be instrumental when warding off predators. Now this may sound a bit far fetched, but when you put 50-150kg of angry pig behind them, they become fairly deadly.
  5. Warthog burrows are usually repossessed aardvark holes that have been excavated to their liking. Although they prove to be excellent hideouts, they do not stop predators from attempting to wait them out. I have seen waiting leopards fall asleep right outside these burrows, only to be woken by a large dust cloud and the sight of a warthog running into the distance!
  6. Most animals have what we call a “follow me” sign. For the warthogs it is the tail straight up in the air as they run off. This is an involuntary reaction to excitement. It also helps members of the sounder (group) or youngsters maintain visual contact with each other or their mom during dangerous and high paced situations.
  7. Warthogs are not the meat-eating creatures that some believe them to be. Interestingly they are actually omnivores, not herbivores, which is what the majority of safari goers believe.
  8. This means that they eat both vegetable matter and bits of meat. The vast majority of the time they are more than happy to just eat grass, roots and fruits with the occasional insect, lizard or spot of carrion.
  9. Warthogs have an eating stance which has come about in order to get them closer to the food in a more comfortable manner. They get right down on their haunches by folding in their front feet, it is hilarious to witness.
  10. To assist further with their eating habits, they have learnt to make use of their rather flattened nose. This tough facial feature helps them dig up roots, move branches to get to tasty things underneath and helps them tremendously with their burrow excavating endeavours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are only a few facts about this iconic species. You’ll have to come on safari to learn more! I didn’t even touch on why they are named Warthogs! If you have an idea, then let us know in the comments below.

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