Common Warthog (Phacochoerus Africanus)
The warthog or common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) is a wild member of the pig family (Suidae) found in grassland, savanna, and woodland in sub-Saharan Africa. In the past, it was commonly treated as asubspecies of P. aethiopicus, but today that scientific name is restricted to the desert warthog of northern Kenya, Somalia, and eastern Ethiopia.
The common name comes from the four large, wart-like protrusions found on the head of the warthog, which serve as a fat reserve and are used for defense when males fight. Afrikaans-speaking people call the animal vlakvark, meaning “pig of the plains”.
The common warthog is medium-sized species; their head-and-body lengths range from 0.9 to 1.5 m (3.0 to 4.9 ft) and shoulder height is from 63.5 to 85 cm (25.0 to 33.5 in). Females, at 45 to 75 kg (99 to 165 lb), are typically a bit smaller and lighter in weight than males, at 60 to 150 kg (130 to 330 lb). A warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards. The lower pair, which is far shorter than the upper pair, becomes razor sharp by rubbing against the upper pair every time the mouth is opened and closed. The upper canine teeth can grow to 25.5 cm (10.0 in) long, and are of a squashed circle shape in cross section, almost rectangular, being about 4.5 cm (1.8 in) deep and 2.5 cm (0.98 in) wide. A tusk will curve 90° or more from the root, and will not lie flat on a table, as it curves somewhat backwards as it grows. The tusks are used for digging, for combat with other hogs, and in defense against predators – the lower set can inflict severe wounds.
Common warthog ivory is taken from the constantly growing canine teeth. The tusks, more often the upper set, are worked much in the way of elephant tusks with all designs scaled down. Tusks are carved predominantly for the tourist trade in East and Southern Africa.
The head of the common warthog is large, with a mane down the spine to the middle of the back. Sparse hair covers the body. Its color is usually black or brown. Tails are long and end with a tuft of hair. Common warthogs do not have subcutaneous fat and the coat is sparse, making them susceptible to extreme environmental temperatures.
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