Warthogs are a common sight on African safaris, and live throughout a large portion of sub-Saharan Africa. Most people know little about them apart from what they’ve seen in the Disney movie The Lion King, which starred a warthog named Pumbaa.
These unusual-looking critters don’t often top lists of “animals to see,” but due to their funny antics and overall cuteness, they should. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about warthogs.
They are quite speedy
While by no means as fast as other land animals such as the cheetah, warthogs can kick it into high gear when they need to. The low to the ground animals are capable of reaching top speeds of 30 miles per hour (48 kilometers per hour).
They aren’t big fighters
When faced with a match up against another animal, warthogs could probably do some serious damage given their sharp tusks. However, they’ll usually just use their speed to sprint away as fast as possible.
They creep inside other animals’ homes
Although warthogs are perfectly capable of burrowing and creating their own homes, they often get a lazy streak and decide to just rest for the night in other animals’ abandoned homes. They usually burrow in backwards, using their powerful tusks to guard the entrance.
They ‘pray’ often
As far as we know, warthogs haven’t formed any kind of religious groups, but they like to ‘pray’ often. When warthogs ‘pray,’ they will kneel down in a stance that looks like they are praying then root along the ground looking for something to eat.
They employ the help of cleaners
Warthogs can regularly be seen giving oxpecker birds a lift in the wilderness. These birds land on the warthogs and clean off any fleas and ticks they might have. Mongoose are also known to help clean warthogs while they lay down.
They can go a long time without water
While they aren’t quite camels, warthogs can go seriously long periods of time without drinking water. When the watering holes go away in the dry season, they have been known to go a few months without having anything to drink.
Their eyesight isn’t very good
Unfortunately, warthogs can’t see too well, so if they ever happen to charge, you should probably get out of the way. Fortunately, these animals make up for their vision with superior hearing and smell.
They are rather intelligent
Like their cousins the pig, warthogs have shown remarkable intelligence. IQ tests show that the swine family is smarter than dogs. Take that Fido!
They have two sets of tusks
Warthogs not only have one, but two sets of tusks which can sometimes be hard to see if they are running past or are still juveniles. The lower pair is smaller than the upper pair and become extremely sharp due to constantly rubbing against each other.
The warts act as padding
The thick warts on the outside of warthogs’ faces are to help protect them in fights. During mating season, male warthogs fight each other with their tusks and the warts act as padding to cushion them.