Warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Suidae
Size:    Height 24 to 30 inches (61 to 76 cm)    Length: 23 to 48 inches (0.58 to 1.22 m)
Weight: 99 to 330 pounds (45 to 150 kg)
Diet: Grass, fruit, roots, sometimes bark or carrion
Distribution: Africa, south of the Sahara
Young:  Litter of 1 to 8
Animal Predators:  Cheetahs, wild dogs, lions, spotted hyenas and eagles
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Group: Sounder  Young: Piglet  Male: Boar   Female: Sow
Lifespan: More than 18 years



·       Warthogs only fight predators if cornered—they usually prefer to flee.

·       Their name comes from the four large warts on the sides of their heads.

·       Related mother warthogs (sisters, mothers and daughters) sometimes nurse each other’s offspring.



The colour of their skin is grey or brown, with black or white coarse bristles. Because their legs are quite long, they usually need to kneel on their forelegs to graze. Males are larger than females and have larger warts on their head. Both males and females have tusks, although the males have larger tusks.



Warthogs live in Africa, south of the Sahara in open country with access to water, including the savannas of Ghana, Somalia, and South Africa.


Feeding Habits

Although their diet consists mainly of vegetation (grass, fruit, roots), they also sometimes eat bark or carrion, which may explain why warthogs have large canine teeth. They need to drink daily and also wallow in mud or water to escape the heat, especially during the dry season. 



Males are not usually accepted by females for mating until they reach four years of age. Mating seasons vary, depending on the local rainy seasons. Females give birth in a burrow to a litter of one to eight piglets, between five and six months after conception. The youngsters nurse for up to four months but will begin to exit the burrow to eat grass at only one week. The piglets will follow their mothers, single file, on longer trips when they reach almost two months. Male offspring will leave to join a bachelor herd, but will stay in the same natal range. Daughters may stay with their mother’s herd for years, and even after finding a mate, may stay in the home range for life. 



Warthogs are gregarious animals that live in groups called “sounders” made up of a family of related hogs. The sounder usually includes females and their offspring, sometimes from more than one litter. Males usually join these groups during mating season, but sometimes single adult males join at other times of the year. Warthogs can run at speeds of 30 miles (56 km) per hour or more when threatened but usually trot, running with their tails upright. Unlike other wild pigs, they are mostly active during the day, but can become nocturnal when hunted by humans.  They are very social animals who rub against each other and groom together. Warthogs communicate using grunts, growls, snorts and squeals. They dig using their snouts, but usually live in burrows created by aardvarks, and enter backwards to watch out for predators.  They are not territorial, and may live in areas that include more than one family group as well as lone animals.



Although warthogs are not considered endangered, their numbers have declined since the late 1800s. Some countries have recently passed conservation laws to protect their warthog populations. Three subspecies are listed are listed with the IUCN. The Cape warthog is Extinct, the Somali warthog is classified as Vulnerable, and the Eritrean warthog is Endangered. 










Warthog Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US