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Common Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus Fact Sheet, 2015  

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Common Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) Fact Sheet, 2015

Image credit: B Dupont from Flickr. Some rights reserved.

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla/Cetartiodactyla

Family: Suidae

Subfamily: Suinae

Genus: Phacochoerus

Species: Phacochoerus africanus - Common warthog

Subspecies: P. a. aeliani
Subspecies: P. a. africanus
Subspecies: P. a. massaicus
Subspecies: P. a. sundevallii

Body Weight
Male: 60-150 kg (132-331 lb)
Female: 50-75 kg (110-165 lb)

Head & Body Length
Male: 125-150 cm (4-5 ft)
Female: 105-140 cm (3.4-4.6 ft)

Tail Length: 35-50 cm (1-1.6 ft)

Pelage: Dark-gray or black with minimal body hair; color often obscured by soil and mud picked up in hairs while wallowing. Long mane of yellowish to black hair extends from the nape of the neck across the shoulders and onto the back. 

Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology

Range: Widely found in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Habitat: Prefer open-country; savanna grasslands, open bushlands, and woodlands. Absent from forests, thickets, cool montane grasslands, deserts, and steppes.

IUCN Status: Least Concern (version 3.1); relatively abundant and widespread, no major threats. Assessed 2008.

CITES Appendix: Not listed; low levels of international trade in live warthogs and warthog products.

Population in Wild: Unknown in many regions; est. 250,000 in southern Africa.

Locomotion: Trot and run; back rigid, tail and mane held erect. Burst of speed up to 55 km/hr (34 mi/hr).

Activity Cycle: Diurnal. Spend much of the day foraging. Wallow in mud and shelter in burrows to escape mid-day heat. Sleep in burrows at night.

Social Groups: Live alone or in small groups known as sounders. Mothers often share nursing duty, providing care to one another's offspring. 

Diet: Feed mostly on grasses; eat the green shoots when seasonally available and the roots and seeds in drier weather. Also consume fruits, sedges, tubers, and bulbs. Uncommonly scavenge on stomach and intestinal contents at predator kills or chew on old bones. 

Predators: Primary threats are lion and leopard; spotted hyena, cheetah, and African wild dog also prey on young and adults. Lions known to become warthog specialists in some areas.

Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights

Sexual Maturity: c. 2 years, both sexes

Gestation: 155-175 days

Litter Size: 1-8 piglets; typically 2-4

Birth Weight: 480-850 g (1.1-1.9 lb); piglets from larger litters tend to weigh less.

Age at Weaning: Complete by 21 weeks.

Longevity: In captivity: c. 14 yr; longest lived individual > 18 yr. In the wild: seldom reach 12 yr.

Feature Facts: Common warthogs are widespread across sub-Saharan Africa. Their nearly hairless bodies make for relatively easy identification of these pigs. Individuals often forage among other ungulates in open grasslands, where they can be seen dropped onto the front "knees" to pluck green grasses. The tusks are often used to dig for roots.


About This Fact Sheet

© 2015 San Diego Zoo Global. Updated March 2015.

How to cite: Common Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) Fact Sheet, 2015. c2015. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. (note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Jan 15)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

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