Botswana

Warthogs: The Cutest Ugly Animal In Africa And Other Fun Facts

A warthog portrait in Botswana

A warthog portrait in Botswana

I am oddly riveted by warthogs, which, if I am being totally honest, is mostly due to their “unique” (translation: ugly) faces.  I stare at them for the same reason people slow down at car crashes: it’s gruesome but you kind of want to see it anyway.

And as it so happens, when an animal is that ugly, they lean towards being cute once you’ve been around them long enough.

Warthog in Tanzania

Tail high in the air as it runs, this warthog looks like it’s remote-controlled

Warthogs are built like tiny compact torpedoes, and except for the Mohawk that runs down their back, the hair that covers their bodies looks as if they are on their third round of chemo.

Their necks are short, while their legs are relatively long, forcing them to kneel when they want to feed, which I actually find adorable. Somehow it softens the harshness of their tusks, which, according to the African Wildlife Foundation, can grow up to 10 inches.

warthog kneels to eat

With a short neck and long legs, warthogs have to kneel in order to eat

I especially love warthogs when they run because their tails stick straight up in the air and they look as if they’re remote-controlled, and boy oh boy, are they fast. It’s incredibly hard to keep track of them when they’re at full speed, which is a big plus when a predator is in hot pursuit.

Momman and baby warthog in Botswana

A momma and baby warthog look much better in profile than their dad above straight on

And since you’re interested in warthogs enough to read down this far, I thought you might like  some additional fun facts you could always save for conversation at your next party or family gathering.

Two warthogs tusk it out in Kenya

Two warthogs tusk it out in Kenya. Their namesake warts help to protect their face.

Warthogs….

  1. prefer moist and arid savannahs
  2. are omnivores and can weigh up to 250 lbs
  3. run up to 35 mph
  4. can survive for months without water
  5. are delicious if you’re a lion, leopard or hyena
  6. derive the “wart” in their names from the protrusions on their faces that protect them faces when they fight.

And there you have it… when your friends revel in the depth of your warthog knowledge, do me a favor and send them my way……

For more wildlife stories and pics, click here.

*African Wildlife Foundation

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