Four Warthog piglets, born June 20 at Zoo Miami, made their exhibit debut this week alongside their parents. At six weeks old, the piglets (one female and three males) explored the exhibit, rooted around in the soil, and tasted fresh vegetation under the watchful eyes of mom and dad.
Three-year-old mother Erica came from the Indianapolis Zoo and three-year-old father Beebop is from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This litter of piglets is the first for both parents and the second successful birth of Warthogs at Zoo Miami.
Warthogs are found through much of sub-Saharan Africa and skyrocketed to fame following the release of “The Lion King,” which starred a lovable Warthog named Pumba.
Warthogs use their large, powerful tusks to dig for roots, tubers, and grubs to eat. Males develop larger tusks than females and use their tusks in combat to establish dominance. The tusks also offer protection: Warthogs enter their burrows rear-first, allowing the tusks to face outward at the burrow entrance to deter predators.
The large facial bumps or “warts” are not warts at all. Instead, they are fatty growths which protect Warthogs’ faces from the tusks of other Warthogs during skirmishes.
Warthogs are fairly numerous across their range. They are not currently threatened, but some localized extinctions have been recorded due to overhunting or drought.
See more photos of the piglets below!