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Warthogs are perhaps one of the most unattractive-looking animals on Earth! First, their heads
seem too large for their bodies. Second, there are two or three pairs of wart-like bumps on
their flat, shovel-shaped faces. Third, four tusks protrude from their jaws, giving them a forceful
appearance. Fourth, while warthogs have sparse hair on their brown skin, they have long
manes extending from the top of their heads to the middle of their backs. Well, although
warthogs look rather strange, or down right ugly to some people, they are very interesting.
Living in African savannahs, warthogs are the only pig species that can live in places where
absence of water during the dry season can last for a couple of months a year! Adding to the
uniqueness is that warthogs are also the only pig species that graze grasses. When warthogs
are hungry, they kneel on their padded front knees to nip off short grass or to dig bulbs, roots,
and tubers with their snouts and tusks. Occasionally, warthogs eat carrions (dead animals),
too. Warthogs look tougher and meaner than they actually are. If threatened, warthogs most
likely choose to flee from the scene than to challenge their enemies. When warthogs are on a
run, they hold their tails upright like an antenna.
Warthogs are active during the daytime. As night falls, they return to their underground homes
or burrows. Although warthogs have sharp tusks that they can use to excavate their own
burrows, they prefer not to. Usually, they find and occupy burrows abandoned by other
animals. Among all the choices they have, they like aardvarks' work the best! Warthogs are
extremely cautious when they enter or exit their homes. When warthogs are about to reach
home, they slowly back up into their residence with their heads facing outward so they can
detect any impending danger, such as a lion or a vicious hyena hidden nearby. When
warthogs are ready to leave their burrows, they rush out at their top speed, about 30 miles per
hour so they can get a running start on any predators that may be lurking nearby.
Warthogs are members of the same family as domestic pigs, but present a much different
appearance. These sturdy hogs are not among the world's most aesthetically pleasing
animals—their large, flat heads are covered with "warts," which are actually protective
bumps. Warthogs also sport four sharp tusks. They are mostly bald, but they do have some
sparse hair and a thicker mane on their backs.
Though warthogs appear ferocious, they are basically grazers. They eat grasses and plants, and
also use their snouts to dig or "root" for roots or bulbs. When startled or threatened, warthogs
can be surprisingly fast, running at speeds of up to 30 miles (48 kilometres) an hour.
Warthogs are adaptable and are able to go long periods without water, as much as several
months in the dry season.
When water is available, warthogs will seek it and often submerge to cool down. They will also
wallow in mud for the same purpose—and to gain relief from insects. Birds also aid these hogs
in their battle with insects; ox peckers and other species sometimes ride along on their
warthog hosts, feeding on the tiny creatures invading their hides.
These African hogs often utilise empty dens created by aardvarks. Rather than fight, they often
choose flight, and search for such a den to use as a hidey-hole. They typically back in, using
their tusks to effectively guard the entrance.
Warthogs also use these dens to have their young. Females have litters of four or fewer young,
which they suckle for about four months.
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