It’s easy to overlook the smaller creatures when it comes to going on safari. Often, you’ll see warthogs running with their tails in the air while zooming past on a game drive. These charismatic creatures are the epitome of an African safari here at Shamwari.

1.Their scientific name is Phacochoerus africanus also known as the common warthog.

2. Their name comes from their ‘warts’ or protrusions on the sides of their face, these protrusions are a combination of bone and cartilage.  It protects their face when they fight.

3. They sleep underground at night in burrows that they steal from other animals such as aardvark. They don’t dig their own.

4. Warthogs mainly eat grass or will dig for roots and bulbs when it’s dry. If they have the opportunity, they will scavenge on meat as they are omnivorous.

5. They like to roll in the mud to protect their skin from the sun and from parasites.

6. Warthogs have litters of two to four piglets however, their mortality rate is quite high due to predators.

7. Two or three female warthogs form small sounders with their young as they look after the piglets.

8. Female warthogs let their babies go into their burrows first, then they back into the burrow so that if anything comes into the burrow as a threat she can run out and protect them.

9. They have tusks like an elephant, on their upper and lower jaws that they use to fight and defend themselves against predators. If the ground is hard, they use their snouts and tusks to lift the soil. They go down onto their wrists when they eat.

10. Surprisingly, they can live for up to 17 years of age.

warthogs

Photographed by Ranger James Moodie

These lovely animals frequent the lawns of lodges, to get to the fresh green grass. Make sure to look out for them on your next safari!