Four Southern Warthogs healthy and strong at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Four playful, 5-week-old southern warthog piglets expended some energy by running, rooting and roughhousing with each other earlier Friday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The piglets, born June 5, explored their habitat — with their mother and father, and their year-old brother and two sisters keeping close watch over them.

They exhibited typical warthog behaviors: kneeling and rooting in the dirt, picking up sticks, pushing rocks and even venturing near their mud wallow. While an older sister rested, one piglet elicited more playtime by climbing atop her sister’s back, tugging at her ear, and rolling off when she received no response.

The piglets — three males and one female — were born in a den at their exhibit to mother Orkima, and father Stuart. Weighing approximately 1 pound at birth, the piglets will continue to nurse from mom for the next three or four months. When full grown, the male warthog could weigh up to 250 pounds and females typically weigh between 110 to 165 pounds. Keepers report that the piglets are healthy and very active.

“These piglets are full of energy, curious and very playful,” said Peggy Sexton, lead keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Orkima started bringing the piglets out on exhibit at two weeks of age. They now spend the majority of their day outdoors. Mom is an excellent mother, and the rest of the sounder (herd) are doing very well with the new additions to the family. One of their older sisters is an especially doting ‘auntie.’”

Warthogs are found in the savanna, woodlands and grasslands, from north central Africa to the southern tip of the continent. Warthog populations are stable in the wild for now, but as with many other animals, habitat loss looms as a threat.

This species of pig is best known for its tusks and warts. Males use the tusks during fights, while the warts cushion blows. Like most swine, warthogs are not picky eaters. Their big snout allows warthogs to be good sniffers. Warthogs often kneel down on their front legs and use their muscular snout to dig up dinner.

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, warthogs eat high-fiber pellets, Bermuda grass, root vegetables and some fruit.

Categories: Local San Diego News