Warthog Warthog

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Artiodactyla; more recently Cetartiodactyla
Genus Species
Phacochoerus africanus
4 subspecies recognized; northern warthog Phacochoerus africanus africanus, Eritrean warthog P. a. aeliani, Central African warthog P. a. massaicus, and Southern Warthog P. a. sundevallii

Fast Facts

Pig-like animal, black or brown in color, with coarse but sparse hair covering body. Its face is long with fleshy warts and protruding tusks.
0.9 to 1.5 m (2.9 to 4.9 ft.) in length; 63.5 to 85 cm (2.1 to 2.8 ft.) tall at shoulder
50 to 150 kg (110 to 330 lbs.)
Grasses, roots, berries, bark, and occasionally carrion
170 to 175 days
Sexual Maturity
18 to 20 months
Life Span
Over 18 years
The common warthog is widely distributed over sub-Saharan Africa, occurring in scattered populations in West Africa eastwards to Eritrea and Ethiopia, southward through eastern Africa, and over much of southern Africa to southern Angola, Botswana, and Mozambique to northeast South Africa.
The Common Warthog is usually found in savanna grasslands, open bushlands, and woodlands. They are usually absent from forests, thickets, cool montane grasslands, and deserts.
Global: The common warthog is widespread, often locally abundant, has a high reproductive rate, and is expanding its geographic range in South Africa.
The overall number of common warthog in South Africa is currently estimated to be at least 22,250.
Most populations seem to be in decline over much of the geographic range.
The Warthog may already be extinct in the Congo.
IUCN: Least concern
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. Warthogs travel in groups called sounders consisting of 1 or 2 sows and young offspring. Males usually travel alone.
  2. Boars have more prominent warts than sows. They are primarily used to protect the face during fights.
  3. Warthogs use burrows for shelter and when entering, the hogs back in. This enables them to defend themselves. In the mornings, warthogs burst out of their burrows at top speed to get a running start on any predators that may be lurking nearby.
  4. Although they look fierce, warthogs would rather run than fight. But they can be fierce opponents if forced.

Ecology and Conservation

Warthogs allow birds, such as the yellow hornbills, to eat parasites that live on their bodies. This symbiotic relationship allows the birds to have a constant food source and the hogs to rid themselves of pests. These rooting animals are beneficial to the land by churning up the soil and allowing it to be aerated, which aids plant growth.
Warthogs are generally diurnal but may be active at night in West Africa, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. This is likely an adaptation to avoid the hottest hours of the day, humans and other diurnal predators, and competition for water and food.
The main threats in eastern Africa are human-caused habitat degradation, loss and fragmentation, and competition with livestock for water and food. They may be hunted for entertainment, bush meat, skins and their tusks.


Estes, Richard D. The Safari Companion. Post Mills, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing Co., 1993.

Harbrecht, Doug. "Beauty or Beast?" International Wildlife. July - Aug. 1992, pp. 30-36

Nowak, Ronald M. (ed.). Walker's Mammals of the World. Vol. 2. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1991.

Parker, Sybil P. (ed.). Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. Vol. 5. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989.

de Jong, Y.A., Cumming, D., d'Huart, J. & Butynski, T. 2016. Phacochoerus africanus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41768A109669842. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T41768A44140445.en. Downloaded on 31 October 2018.