Although they're not renowned for being the most beautiful or graceful animals in the African grasslands, warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus) are bold and fascinating creatures. Warthogs, members of the pig family, are widely distributed across Africa, living in open areas, such as plains and savannahs. When they become pregnant, female warthogs have a specific way of preparing to give birth and of raising their young.
Male and female warthogs have many mates. Males don't defend a particular territory, but will get involved in ritualized fights for females, though these rarely end in injury. The mating season begins four to five months after the end of the rainy season, which allows females to give birth during the dry season. Females attract males by urinating in a hunched-over position, which indicates both by sight and smell that they're ready to mate.
Sexual Maturity and Gestation
Warthogs generally reach sexual maturity between the ages of 18 and 20 months. While females may get pregnant for the first time at this age, males usually don't mate until around 4 years old. The species has the longest gestation period of any type of pig, giving birth after 170 and 175 days of pregnancy.
Female warthogs usually live in a large group called a sounding; but when individuals get pregnant they move away to find themselves isolated burrows. They don't dig their burrows themselves and so will look for a naturally occurring holes in the ground or abandoned aardvark burrows. Females who still have members of their last litter with them chase the adolescents away so they can look after their new young.
After their gestation period, female warthogs give birth to their piglets. They normally have no more than four, as they only have four teats and can't feed a larger number of young. For the first six or seven weeks of their lives, baby warthogs stay in their dens, after which they begin to venture out with their mothers to forage for food. Although they're weaned at 21 weeks of age, females stay with their mothers until they reach sexual maturity, males until roughly 2 years old.
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