Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Pumba

Pumba, (from Hakuna Matata song) is the only pig able to live in areas without water for long, though streams are very common in East Africa and as such hard to judge for how really they can stay without water. But they love to wallow in muddy pools, as many of you have seen on safari, for those who have had the chance. Warthogs are able to tolerate higher-than-normal body temperatures and as such able to conserve moisture inside their bodies, that would have been used for cooling.

Warthog's most unusual features are the warts on the face, mostly pronounced on males.
These are thick protective-pads that appear on both sides of the head. They appear below
the eyes and between the eyes and tusks. Interestingly, the eyes are positioned very high on the head; as such when they kneel down to eat, they can still see far, especially predators.

The warthog's large tusks are unusual: The two upper ones emerge from the sides of the snout to form a semicircle; the lower tusks at the base of the uppers are worn to a sharp cutting edge. They are part of their feeding and defensive mechanisms, and in addition they go inside their barrows back-first, giving the tusks ease of attack when need be. And though they use barrows, in most cases they don’t dig them, preferring to use those left by aardvarks after digging out termites. (A different article on termites)

The warthog characteristically carries its tail upright when it runs, the tuft waving like a tiny flag. As the young run in a single file, the tail position may serve as a signal to keep them all together. They trot with a springy gait but they are known to run surprisingly fast.

Like hyena, they like to wallow in muddy pools. This not only cools them, but also keeps insects off. In some cases, the warthog lets tick birds like red and yellow billed ox peckers get ticks and other insects from them.

Boars have 4 teats but despite that, in some cases we see litters of more than 5. In most cases the litter is up to four whereby each piglet is 'assigned' its own teat and suckles exclusively from that. Others will not dare go it, > even if that 'teat-owner' dies, others will not go it.

When alarmed, the warthog grunts or snorts, lowers its mane, flattens its ears and bolts for underground cover. They have poor vision (though better than most other African wild pigs), but it senses of smell and hearing are good.

Shared by Peter K. Philip
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