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Common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) male.jpg
Male common warthog
Phacochoerus africanus
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Subfamily: Phacochoerinae
Genus: Phacochoerus
F. Cuvier, 1826

Phacochoerus aethiopicus
Phacochoerus africanus

Phacochoerus is a genus in the family Suidae, commonly known as warthogs (pronounced wart-hog). It is the sole genus of subfamily Phacochoerinae. They are pigs who live in open and semi-open habitats, even in quite arid regions, in sub-Saharan Africa. The two species were formerly considered conspecific under the scientific name Phacochoerus aethiopicus, but today this is limited to the desert warthog, while the best-known and most widespread species, the common warthog (or simply warthog), is Phacochoerus africanus.[1]


Although covered in bristly hairs, their bodies and heads appear largely naked from a distance, with only the crest along the back, and the tufts on their cheeks and tails being obviously haired. The English name refers to their facial wattles, which are particularly distinct in males. They also have very distinct tusks, which reach a length of 10 to 25 inches (25 to 64 centimetres) in the males, but are always smaller in the females.[2] They are largely herbivorous, but occasionally also eat small animals.[3] While both species remain fairly common and widespread, and therefore are considered to be of Least Concern by the IUCN, the nominate subspecies of the desert warthog, commonly known as the Cape warthog, became extinct around 1865.[4]

Species in taxonomic order[edit]

The genus Phacochoerus contains two species. The two species emerged from ecological barriers.[5] P. africanus were found with a lack of upper incisors, while P. aethiopicus were found with a full set. [5]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Nolan warthog (Phacochoerus africanus africanus).jpg Phacochoerus africanus Common warthog Widespread in the savannah of Sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Ethiopia down to South Africa, absent from heavily forested or desert areas.
African Warthog - Phacochoerus aethiopicus.jpg Phacochoerus aethiopicus Desert warthog Northern Kenya and Somalia, and possibly Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.

In popular culture[edit]

The warthog Pumbaa and his meerkat friend Timon are important characters of Disney's 1994 animated film The Lion King and its franchise.


  1. ^ Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Novak, R. M. (editor) (1999). Walker's Mammals of the World. Vol. 2. 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. ISBN 0-8018-5789-9
  3. ^ Kingdon, J. (1997). The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press Limited, London. ISBN 0-12-408355-2
  4. ^ d'Huart, J.P.; Butynski, T.M.M. & De Jong, Y. (2008). "Phacochoerus aethiopicus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  5. ^ a b d'Huart, JP; Grubb, P (2001). "Distribution of the common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) and the desert warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) in the Horn of Africa". African Journal of Ecology. 39 (2): 156–169. doi:10.1046/j.0141-6707.2000.00298.x – via Web of Science.

External links[edit]