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Name: Warthog
Scientific name: Phacochoerus aethiopicus
Range: Africa
Habitat: Open and light bush grasslands
Status: Not threatened 
Diet in the wild: mainly grasses and herbs, but also tubers and bulbs
Diet in the zoo: bulbs, roots, and carrion
Location in the zoo:  near the Cheetah Exhibit

Physical description: 

  • Height 30 in. to shoulder. 
  • Body length up to 60 in. 
  • Weight 130-265 lbs
  • Color dark brown to black. 
  • Tail 18 in., with a tassel at the end. 
  • A thin mane of hair is on the neck and back. 
  • Warts are present in both males and females, but are more prominent in males. 

  • Wild warthog photos courtesy of www.africam.com

    General information: 

    Warthogs live in small groups called sounders, which usually consists of one or two females and their young.  Adult boars may sometimes join the group, but usually remain solitary.  Most warthogs are active during the day and graze mainly on grasses and herbs.  They tend to live in abandoned aardvark dens.  When entering their dens, the young climb down first followed by adults, who usually enter backwards to avoid predator attacks. 

    Special anatomical, physiological 
    or behavioral adaptations:
    When it come to defending its family, a warthog will exhibit both courage and ferocity.  A combination of speed (its maximum running speed is 30 miles per hour) and two sets of tusks are able to fend off most predators.  Although the warthog  has poor eyesight, it has a good sense of smell and an acute sense of hearing. 
     Because of its short neck and long legs, the warthog moves on its wrists when searching for food.  As an adaptation to this method of locomotion, calluses have developed on the wrists.  This animal also has two warts (from which its name is derived) on on both sides of its face. 

    Warthog Family courtesy of Africam
    Click here for a video of 
    warthog babies
    at the Birmingham Zoo

    Warthog on knees courtesy of Africam

    Comments about the warthogs of the Fort Worth Zoo:


    These animals are from Africa.  Although they have poor sense of sight, they have very acute senses of smell and hearing.  Both warthogs are usually silent, but can grunt, growl, snort, and squeal.  They like to eat and are usually found leaning on their knees when grazing.  They also like to lie in the shade and wallow in the mudholes to keep cool. 

    Personal Observations:

    The warthog has an unusual appearance and tends to cling to a covered area, such as under a rock or under a burrow.  Also, when not eating, they love to wallow in mud and be playful with each other.

    Two very muddy warthogs.

    Source Materials and Related Links:
  • Nowak, Ronald M.  Walker's Mammals of the World. Vol 

  • II. 6th ed. John Hopkins University Press. 
    Baltimore: 1999. 
  • Grzimek, Bernhard, 1980.  Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia.  Volume 13 - Mammals.  Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.  New York, pp. 99-101.
  • "Wart Hog." Wildlife Fact File. 3 Vols. New York: 1991.  (This source does not list a lot of bibliographical information.  I found it in Wesleyan's library!)
  • http://www.africam.com/mirror/highlights/index.html

    Page author: {short description of image} Thomasina  Delancy 

    Send E-mail to Thomasina:  ttd_99@hotmail.com

     or to  mac@whozoo.org

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