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The Warthog (Phacochoerus)

Warthogs are members of the pig family, called Suidae. The common pig and warthogs are not very far from each other in the evolutionary tree, but they are in separate genera. The warthog genus has two species under it, the desert warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus), and the common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus). The character Pumbaa from The Lion King put warthogs in the spotlight.

Physical Description and Behavior

Warthogs from both species are about the same in height in weight, being about 60 inches (125 cm) long and between 130 and 330 pounds (60 to 150 kg). They also have long tusks that can range from 10-25 inches long (25 to 64 centimeters). Females are generally slightly smaller than males.

They have a mane of hair that starts from the top of their head and runs all the way down their back. This hair will most likely be dark brown or black. The rest of their body has sparse hair, which is often brown or gray.

Fun fact: Phacochoerus aethiopicus is thought to have had a subspecies, known as Phacochoerus aethiopicus aethiopicus. However, this other species, that lived in South Africa, became extinct in the 1870s.

While they are mainly herbivorous, consuming a variety of grasses, berries, bark, roots, fruit, and fungi, they will also occasionally consume animal products like insects, eggs, and even carrion. Their diet is mainly determined by what is available for them at the time, which changes throughout the seasons.

Habitat and Location

The warthog has adapted to live in a warm and arid climate, such as arid grasslands and savannas. While the desert warthog is only located in the "Horn of Africa", the common warthog can be found in just about every country south of the Sahara Desert.

Both of the species under this genus are considered to be Least Concern according to the IUCN Red List.

AmazingLife's Chief Editor and Author, Reginald Finley (below) helping to set up a Warthog at Skeleton's Museum in Orlando, Florida.

To learn more about warthogs, check out this video below:

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