The Detroit Zoo has introduced three of five warthog piglets that were born in April.
Female Lucy and males Carter and Sam can be seen with mother Lilith, 9, in their habitat near the Africa Train Station. Females Diane and Vera – the smallest of the quintuplets – are being cared for by staff behind the scenes until they gain enough weight to join the rest of the family, which also includes 4-year-old father Linus, 1-year-old sister Violet and Lilith’s sister, 9-year-old Rebecca.
“We’re excited to introduce these adorable warthog piglets to Zoo visitors,” said Elizabeth Arbaugh, Detroit Zoological Society Curator of Mammals. “The two smaller piglets are receiving additional care from Zoo staff to ensure their well-being. They are gaining weight rapidly and thriving, and will join the rest of the group in the near future.”
The quintuplets represent the second warthog birth at the Detroit Zoo in two years and are a welcome addition to the North American zoo population of warthogs, which numbers just under a hundred. The birth is the result of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. This is a cooperative management program to ensure genetically healthy, diverse and self-sustaining populations of threatened and endangered species.
The warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) 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.