Africa's Ugliest Mammal
Last Modified: 24/05/2018
Warthogs may not be handsome, but the very thing that makes them look ugly actually protects them from predators.
- 1 Most people agree that this is the ugliest mammal in Africa.
- 2Warthog mothers and their piglets often visit mudholes.
- 3They're one of the only pigs active during the day,...
- 4...so like the rhino, they need to protect their skin from the fierce sun.
- 5And protection is part of the reason for that strange, disproportionate head.
- 6It's rock-hard, a helmet that even a leopard's teeth can't penetrate.
- 7But it has other uses, too.
- 8The warthog's muzzle is shaped like a shovel...
- 9...so it can turn over hard earth for tasty bulbs and roots,...
- 10...but they often have to get down on their knees to support that heavy armored head.
- 11No one would call warthogs handsome,...
- 12...but to add injury to insult, this one's lost an eye,...
- 13...probably escaping from a hungry lion.
- 14Fortunately, warthogs are well-armed.
- 15These tusks are formidable weapons.
- 16The biggest ones ever seen were two feet long on the outside edge.
- 17But it's the smaller, lower tusks that are the danger.
- 18They can be very sharp, and they're the main weapon in attack.
- 19And what about the warts that give these pigs their name?
- 20Males have four.
- 21Females, two.
- 22They're not really warts, but protective pads of cartilage and gristle.
- 23In battle, the strategically placed pads deflect thrusting tusks...
- 24...away from soft parts of the face,...
- 25...shielding the eyes and mouth.
- 26For warthogs, an ugly snout can literally be a lifesaver.