The Warthog – Phacochoerus aethiopicus
I’m starting this series on Namibia’s wildlife with the warthog. Not because I like it the most, but because you will probably see it before any other animal on your drive from the airport to Windhoek and it will be the animal that you learn about the least while on Safari in Namibia – I have yet to meet a guide that will stop for a warthog and tell the guests on his vehicle more about it.
My one guide-book is fairly blunt about the warthog. “Large ‘warts’ on sides of face. Coarse dark mane on neck and back. Rest of body sparsely bristly. Thin tail. Sleeps in holes. Fond of wallowing.”
Thankfully, my second guide-book is quite descriptive and full of information that I did not know.
Warthogs live in family groups of 5 – 10 and will ignore warthogs that overstep their boundaries. They communicate with low grunts. Warthogs use old anteater holes as hiding spots when running away from predators. The little ones will run head first into a hole while the bigger ones, make an unusual turn at the opening of the hole, and reverse into the hole so that they can face their predator, head first.
They may not look like much, but warthogs are some of the fiercest opponents out in the wild. They have been known to successfully defend themselves against wild dogs, cheetah and even leopard. (Yeah to the warthog!)
Warthogs use the bridge of their noses as a shovel while they bend on their front knees searching for food in the ground. The skin around the knees develop into hard calluses that protects the skin as they move around on their knees. Warthogs are easily spotted in the veld running away with their thin tails in the wind.