Warthog Facts

Photography by Sias van Schalkwyk

Latin Name:

Phacochoerus africanus




15 to 18 years


50kg to 110kg (110 lb to 242 lb)

Sexual Differentiation:

Males are larger than females and have two pairs of “warts” on the face, 1 pair on the snout and the second pair on the sides of the face next to the eyes. The female only has one pair of “warts” next to the eyes.
The male is called a boar, the female is a sow.


Warthogs are found in moist and semi-arid regions taking favour to savannahs, woodlands and grasslands.

They avoid forests, thick bush, tall grassed areas and mountainous areas as these make it very difficult for the warthog to detect predators.

Warthogs are very water dependent and are often found near waterholes feeding and mud bathing.  

Diet and Feeding:

Warthogs are omnivores with the bulk of their diet consisting of grasses, fruit, bulbs, roots and tubers. The lesser part of their diet consists of invertebrates and dead animals such as mammals and reptiles.

Warthogs are also known for chasing jackals off carcases to feed although this is quite uncommon.

When grazing or digging up food they will often kneel down and move around and their knees, this results in the knees been very callused over time.

The reason for this manor of feeding is the physical build of the warthog’s neck and long legs in proportion to its fairly short neck. The neck is also thick in muscle which limits bending. Moving on the knees is more comfortable for long feeding sessions.


Warthogs are sexually mature at about 18 months with female giving birth to her first litter at 2 years of age.

A pregnant female that has the previous seasons litter still with her will chase the raised litter away before giving birth again.

After a gestation of 5 to 6 months the female gives birth to 2 to 4 piglets, rarely more.

The piglets are born in an underground burrow where they stay with the mother for at least 1 week. At 1 to 2 weeks of age the warthog piglets start to leave the burrow for short periods of time. At 5 to 6 weeks the young will follow the mother to go foraging and return back to the burrow in the evening.

The warthog piglets start grazing at 2 to 3 weeks of age and are weaned at 4 to 5 months.


Warthogs have loose associations between individuals. A group of warthogs is called a sounder. Mature males are normally solitary except for when looking for potential mates.

Young males are often seen in bachelor groups. Females and youngsters will move together with related adult females and their young.

Warthogs are not capable of excavating deep burrows but instead move into Aardvark burrows which they may modify. Some burrows may be as deep as 6 meters.

Warthogs are active in the daylight hours. At night they avoid most of the larger predators by resting in the safety of their burrows.

The burrow also provides protection against the harsh summer sun and weather.

Youngsters enter the burrow head first whereas the adults reverse in to the burrow so that they may have a fast escape from the burrow should there be any unwanted visitors.

By reversing into the burrow they are also capable of attacking pursuers with their tusks while moving inside.

Family groups can often be seen running though long grass in single file with their tails straight up. The straight tail acts as a visual point so that they can see each other and keep together when running for safety.

Warthogs wallow in mud on a regular basis, the mud helps to protect its skin from the harsh sun as well as rid its self from skin parasites.

Parasites suffocate in the mud and are removed when the warthog rubs off the mud against trees and termite mounds. 

The warthog’s main predators are lion, leopard, cheetah and hyenas.

Piglets may fall prey to the larger species of eagles.