06 26/06/2015

Latest arrivals at Chester Zoo hog the spotlight

A tiny twosome of warthog piglets have been spotted playing outside for the first time at Chester Zoo.

Warthogs
Two playful warthog piglets stick closely to mum, Kizzy, as they venture outside for the first time

The youngsters – which stand at just 20cm tall - took their very first steps out into the sunshine this week. 

The piglets arrived to second-time mum Kizzy and dad, Magnum after a six month pregnancy. The pair were born on 11th June, but only recently emerged from their den after spending a few weeks bonding with mum.

Zoo keepers have not yet identified if the latest arrivals are female or male and for that reason they have not yet been named.

Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at Chester Zoo, said:

We’ve definitely had a baby boom at the zoo recently and we’re thrilled to see our latest arrivals outside enjoying the sunshine.

This is Kizzy’s second litter and she is very relaxed with her new arrivals, doing a great job caring for her youngsters. Kizzy obviously feels very confident that the pair are strong enough to roam out in the open, but I’m sure she will stay very close to them for the next few months to ensure they get all the love and attention that they need.

Chester Zoo is part of a European breeding programme for the species, which in the wild are confined to African grasslands, bushlands and woodlands, usually within range of constant surface water. Warthogs are susceptible to drought and hunting, which can result in localised extinctions.

Warthogs are wild pigs native to Africa and are known for their large upward curving tusks and wart-like growths on the sides of their heads. They live up to 15 years and can weigh as much as 115kg.

Warthog facts

  • Latin name: Phacochoerus africanus
  • Warthogs have one or two pairs of warts on their face beneath the eyes and near the tusks
  • Males are larger than females but both sexes have upper and lower tusks
  • They feed mainly on grass, roots, bark, fruit and berries but will sometimes eat insects, worms and dead animals
  • Warthogs are found in sub-Saharan Africa
  • They are active in the day and hide away at night, most often in burrows that have been made by aardvarks
  • Mother warthogs nurse and care for their offspring until they are about 21 weeks of age, at which point they have to fend for themselves
  • Chester Zoo’s first youngsters were born on 2/5/2014. The second litter arrived on 6/6/2014
  • They can be seen in the zoo’s Tsavo exhibit, near its Diamond Jubilee Quarter