Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Warthog

Phacochoerus africanus
Let me introduce you to the majestic Warthog, the pig king of the Savanna! Did you know that Warthogs are, in fact, the only pigs to have adapted to life in open, exceptionally dry habitats? Other species are forest dwellers that cannot go without for extended periods like the Warthogs can.

So why does a Warthog have warts?
Well actually... they don't. The bumps on their faces are thick skin pads that are used for protection. These come in handy during the mating season when males fight each other over females. Though the fights can get vicious, the males rarely are seriously injured thanks to the cushioning on their faces.

Warthogs are split up into four separate subspecies that are distributed throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. They live in family groups that are typically comprised of a female an her young, though sometimes females pair up with other (often related) females, and live in larger groups. Males are typically solitary, and only interact with these groups for mating purposes.

Warthogs are omnivores. They feed most commonly on grasses and bulbs, and they use their long snouts to root around for meals. They also regularly consume insects, especially during the wet season. Warthogs themselves are preyed upon by big cats, wild dogs, and birds of prey. Thankfully they have unusually long legs for a pig, and can run at speeds of up to 34mph (55kph)! The Warthogs will also fight their attackers using their tusks.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Africa
Size : Length up to 5ft (1.5m), Weight up to 170lbs (75kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Suidae -- Genus : Phacochoerus -- Species : P. africanus

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