It's a warty face that everyone can love. “Daphne,” a five-year-old female warthog gave birth to two piglets, “Abraham” and “Sarah” on Sunday, April 30. Mother and piglets are doing well, and are currently on exhibit.
Daphne came to the Memphis Zoo in 2014. “Samson,” the father of the piglets, is the same age as Daphne. The boar, or male, arrived in 2016. This arrival of Abraham and Sarah is their first litter together.
“At three weeks old, the two piglets are very spry, running around under Mom’s feet and playing with one another,” said Farshid Mehrdadfar, West Zone Curator. “These guys are some of the most intelligent animals I have ever worked with.”
Considered remarkably smart and adaptable, warthogs are able to evaluate a threat and adapt accordingly. In addition, the species is very quick on its feet, which visitors can see first-hand by visiting the Zoo’s newest piglets at the Round Barn.
The “warts” on a warthog are actually thick growths of skin, with boars having warts that are most prominent. They are used to protect themselves when ramming each other with their heads, acting as a cushion.
In the wild, the piglets would stay by their mother’s side until the next piglets arrive. Sows are very social, and live in large groups with their piglets. These groups, called sounders, can sometimes have as many as many as 40 individuals.
Abraham and Sarah will nurse for four months, and then move on to solid foods. Warthogs are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and plant-life. Their tusks help them to forage for roots beneath the ground’s surface. While some might consider warthogs pests, they actually provide a gardening service. While they root through the soil with their tusks, they actually aerate the soil, promoting plant growth.