Yes, warthogs do eat meat, but they don’t hunt it down like lions and other predators do.
Warthogs are omnivorous like all members of the genus Sus i.e. the pig family. This means that while they prefer a vegetable diet, they will scavenge meat on occasion. This has less to do with being gluttonous than it has to do with survival.
Omnivores are better able to survive the changing seasons because of their unfussy eating habits. When their preferred foods are not available or in short supply, they can switch to another more readily available source of sustenance.
Their teeth and digestive systems are adapted to cope with a varied diet too. Omnivores have canine teeth for ripping flesh as well as incisors for cropping vegetable matter. Molars take care of the chewing part of the operation.
As a result, omnivores occur in a wide range of habitats and can thrive where specialised feeders cannot. There are many wild animals that have learned to live in or near human settlements in Africa for example hyenas, jackals and baboons.
Humans are the most obvious example of omnivores but this type of feeding is more common than you realise. From ants to bears, omnivores are everywhere. Somewhere in the middle, you find the warthog.
Warthogs usually eat grass, fruit and berries. They also use their large tusks to dig for roots and will eat any insects that they encounter during this activity.
If they come across a dead bird, reptile or small mammal they will eat it. No African animal is going to turn down a free meal.
While warthogs are not fussy when it comes to feed time, they are dependent on water which they use not only for drinking but for wallowing. Mud and moisture help to keep parasites off the warthogs’ skin and help to keep them cool.
Because of their survival adaptations warthogs are plentiful and are in turn an important prey species for many animals. Lion, cheetah and leopard are partial to warthogs but man is by far their biggest hunter. Warthog meat is delicious, particularly the ribs, and it is leaner than pork.
You may get to try some, along with other tasty cuts of venison, during your South African safari at Thornybush Collection.
Not only will you learn new things, but you’ll get to sample new experiences when you stay at one of our luxury safari lodges. Get in touch now and find out more about Africa and the fascinating creatures found here.