Bushpig - Potamochoerus porcus

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Warthog - Phacochoerus aetheopicus | Bushpig - Potamochoerus porcus

 


Afrikaans Bosvark Zulu Ngulube
Tswana Kolobe ya naga
Shona Humba, Nguruve Shangaan Khumba, Ngulube M'hlati
R.W. Min 3⅞" Max 11⅞"
S.C.I Min 11" Max 22" Measurement Method 4

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Tracks
5 cm

Distribution

Dung
8 cm
Deposited in middens

Unusual features/differences from similar animals

The body is covered by coarse hair whereas the Warthog has a sparse coat of bristles. The head is narrower than a warthog's. There are no warts on the side of the face and the tusks grow forward and do not rise above the snout as in the warthog. They run with their tails down whereas warthogs run with tails held vertically.

Visible Male/Female Differences

Males are bigger than females. Females have three pairs of nipples on the belly. 

Habitat and Distribution

Bush and dense growth along rivers, reed beds and tall grass. Dependent on water. Moves out of its dense refuges to feed.

Diet

Prefers fruit  but also wats rhizomes, bulbs, tubers, roots, insect larvae and pupae, earthworms, birds' eggs and nestlings. Readily takes carrion and occasionally kills snakes, frogs, rats, and lambs and kids. May do serious damage to crops.

Reproduction

Litters of up to 8 piglets weighing 600g are born between October and January. Piglets are driven out of the sounder by the parents at six months. Females first give birth at two years old. Lifespan is 15 years.

Behavior and Habits

Active at night will become active during the day when food is scarce. They are social, living in groups known as sounders of 6-8 with a dominant boar and sow. The dominant boar leads and protects the sounder. Males that do not hold sounders live alone or in bachelor groups. Dung is deposited in middens, Scent marks are produced by glands on the feet, and dominant boars gouge the bark of trees with their tusks. The lower canine teeth are constantly honed by wearing against the upper tusks and they form formidable weapons capable of inflicting fatal damage on dogs and serious wounds on humans. Wounded or cornered bushpigs are very dangerous. The dominant boar gives a resonant grunt as an alarm call, causing his sounder to scatter into heavy cover.

Bushpigs build nests piling grass into heaps up to 3 m across and 1 m high (which look like small haystacks) into which sows burrow to have their young. Apart from suckling them, the care of piglets are left the dominant boar by the sows.  Bushpigs typically forage in damp, soft soil, rooting with the tough disc at the end of the muzzle. Food is detected mainly by smell. They wade into water to reach aquatic plants and they are good swimmers and they wallow in mud to cool down.

Sounds

Soft grunting is a short-range contact call. The  boar gives a resonant grunt as an alarm call.

Dung and Field sign

Droppings are 8 cm long. Deposited in middens. Patches of soil churned up by rooting. Tusk marks on bark. Nests looking like small haystacks.

 



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