Archive: Detroit Zoo Goes Warthog Wild Over New Arrivals

May 27, 2015


Hear that sounder?  It’s the pitter patter of little warthog hooves at the Detroit Zoo as four of five piglets born April 8, 2015, make their debut.  The smallest of the quintuplets is being cared for behind the scenes until he gains enough weight to join the rest of the group, called a sounder.

The piglets – females Daenerys, Sansa and Cersei, and males Tyrion and Hodor – are named after characters in the HBO fantasy drama “Game of Thrones”.  The four new arrivals can be seen in their habitat near the Africa Train Station.

This is the third warthog birth at the Detroit Zoo in three years for mother Lilith, 10, and father Linus, 5, bringing the Zoo’s sounder to 12.

“We’re thrilled to have this new litter to add to our warthog family.  Like all pigs, warthogs are smart and precocious and a lot of fun to watch running and rooting around in their habitat,” said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society.

The warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) has a large head with a flat face, high-set eyes and elongated snout.  A mature warthog stands about 30 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh between 125 and 300 pounds.  Its stocky, muscular, almost-hairless body features wrinkly, gray skin; a long, coarse mane along its neck and back; and a long, tasseled tail.

Among the warthog’s most noticeable characteristics are the four large tusks protruding from the sides of its snout.  The two upper canine teeth curve up and over the snout while the sharp lower canines are short and straight.  The warthog also sports protruding facial warts which give the species its name.  

Found primarily in the savannah woodland and grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa, the warthog is threatened by drought and hunting, which could result in localized extinctions in the future.