28 April, 2014

Today we have warthogs

 by Diana Studer 
 - gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

It was March 2010. Not, I hasten to add, in our garden, but at Addo Elephant National Park. 

Disconcerted? Look at my watermark
Warthog drinking

An exceedingly strange looking animal. With a head much too big for its body, like an unfortunately crossed, mongrel dog. And then it has huge tusks, and knobby bits on its head. Erratic wisps of long fur, and a tail which looks as if Mother Nature was rudely interrupted, then forgot to finish it off. 

Addo warthogs

When warthogs eat or drink, need to get the head down to the ground, they appear to bend their front knees, the wrong way. Actually they are resting on the heels of their hands. Just, where the heel of our hand is on the palm, theirs is a callus on the back of the wrist. Most uncomfortable to see, or think about! 

Warthog on knees

They usually have 3 or 4 babies. Who are BORN with those ‘heels on the back of their wrists’. They dig for roots and bulbs, using their back legs to shovel themselves forward. 

Warthog babies

Would not like to attempt to nuzzle and cuddle, with all those tusks. 

Pair of warthogs at Addo

We parked up and watched this pair for a while. One warthog was lying down when we arrived. The second was having breakfast. He wandered over - 'Are you alright dear? Anything I can do for you?' Then they both had a rest. 

Warthogs resting at Addo

With those ferocious tusks, it is quite strange to see him moving methodically over the greensward. A ‘sheep may safely graze’ lawnmower. Leaving a meticulously manicured green velvet swathe behind him. 

Warthog mowing alone

However THIS lawnmower, if he digs up small animals like mice. That mouse is also down the hatch, grist to his mill. They will eat anything, mostly plants, but also animals, dead or alive. Not so peaceful after all. 

We began with spekboom and will return with Addo elephants. If you'd prefer flowers ... Wildflower Wednesday in our Swartland garden at Elephant's Eye in Porterville.

Pictures by Diana Studer  

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  1. Yes, warthogs are definitely unique animals. The little ones are almost cute, but as you say--not something I would want to cuddle with. How interesting to see them at the national park. Thanks for sharing the photos and the information about them.

  2. They look a little dangerous, with those tusks! Very fascinating though.

    1. from inside a closed car ... we were both at ease.

  3. The most beautiful ugly animals there are

  4. I have always had a soft spot for the "less attractive" animals on our planet. of course they are blissfully unaware of their looks which makes it all the more tragic really. Still I'm sure that what they lack in the looks department they make up for with their steely strength and bold aggression. Not to be trifled with indeed. :-)

    PS - The Highline was definitely a HIGHlight! xx

  5. I'm not familiar with these animals, never seen one except in pictures, but actually find them quite appealing. If I kissed one, I'm sure it would turn into a prince.

    1. They are rather cute. When disturbed they run off in a line, each with its little alarm flag flying, tail straight up.

  6. I wonder if heels on the back of my wrists would help when I'm gardening. P. x

    PS My latest posting (May 1st) did not appear in my blogroll again. Tried everything we did last time: cleared cache, re-posted, removed from blogroll then added again, etc. All unsuccessful. The traffic to my blog is definitely down. Frustrating.

    1. My feed health bulletin says there was a problem on mine from 11:00 to 11:27 PDT. If you happened to hit publish in that half hour ...

    2. The feed is healthy, I validated and did a resync. Keep your fingers crossed. Thanks for all your suggestions.

    3. Didded it!! Thanks again, my friend. P. x

  7. I went to the troubleshootize page and tried pinging feedburner. We shall see ...

    I notice an old blog of mine is listed. It has the same name: Pam's English Cottage Garden. I am afraid to delete it because it seems to have the same feed address. Is that possible?

    1. exactly the same? I don't think so? You could try deleting the old one, and if needed burn a fresh feed to your active blog.

    2. Didn't try deleting the old feed yet -- Been busy outside. I'll let you know how it works. P. x

  8. Such a different animal although similar to our wild hogs...I love the uniqueness of the warthog.

  9. The closest I've ever come to a warthog is this blog. They do look fierce!