According the Chinese Zodiac, 2019 marks the year of the Pig. No better way to celebrate this than a quick look at South Africa’s own wild pig, The Warthog – More than just Timone’s friend.
The name “warthog” comes from the wart like bumps that occurs on their faces. Of course these aren’t warts at all, but rather made out of bone and cartilage.
They love to live in abandoned burrows of other animals, using these for shelter. When protecting themselves from predators they will slide tail first into the burrow so they are able to use their formidable tusks to defend themselves.
When startled or threatened they can be surprisingly fast, reaching speed of up to 50km per hour.
Wart hogs have adapted protective pads on their wrists that allow them to “kneel” while eating. Due to their short necks and relatively long legs it is easier for them to kneel while eating and drinking.
They live in matriarchal groups called “sounders”. Females have on average 4 piglets after a 6 month pregnancy. They would have their babies in separate burrows and only introduce them to the sounder when the piglets are about 10 days old.
Warthogs like to dig up bulbs and roots, and in doing so, distribute seed and expose tasty treats for other wildlife. They also provide a vital source of protein to large predators in the wild.
Like all pigs, warthogs likes rolling in the mud and Digger is no different. Digger used to be kept as a family pet. This is illegal in the Garden Route, and so he was donated to Tenikwa to contribute to our Awareness program. Digger teaches our visitors that there is more to warthogs than meets the eye.