BUSHPIG

It is not surprising that during our many visits to the Addo Elephant National Park over the past thirty years we have not spotted a Bushpig (Potamochoerus larvatus) even though they are present in the area. This is largely because they are secretive in nature and tend to be nocturnal, although they are known to be diurnal during the cooler months. In June we saw the hairy rear ends of a pair that scuttled into the bushes as we neared them … a month later, we happened across a pair of bushpigs out in the open right next to the road in broad daylight! The reason for our surprise is that these animals are usually associated with dense vegetation such as scrub forests, thickets and riverine habitats, where food, shelter and water are readily available.

Bushpigs are recognisable by their blunt, muscular snouts. As you can see, the upper areas of the ears and face and manes are a lighter colour than the rest of the body.

They have small eyes and pointed, tufted ears.

Here you can see that their sharp tusks are fairly short and inconspicuous, in fact you can hardly see the upper tusks.

As they are omnivorous creatures, the varied diet of bushpigs includes forbs, roots and seeds to insects, eggs and carrion.

The thin whip-like tail of a bushpig is about 30cm long. Interestingly, while warthogs run with their tails held high, bushpigs keep theirs hanging down.

We feel fortunate to have been able to observe bushpigs in Addo at last!

 

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ANIMALS EATING

Warthogs are omnivores whose diet includes roots, berries, bark, bulbs, grass and a variety of plants. Their rounded cartilage snout is hardened on the upper side so that it can act as a kind of shovel to dig up bulbs from under the ground – as this one is doing:

Elephants on the other hand often break branches in order to gain access to the leaves, roots and nutrients in the tree:

Although kudu are well known as browsers, they also eat a variety of fruit, pods, forbs and creepers as well as succulents such as spekboom and aloes. This one is taking advantage of the many forbs that have grown after a long period without rain:

Red Hartebeest are predominantly grazers. While they usually prefer medium-height grass, they also tuck into the fresh re-growth of grass growing after rain:

Like the warthogs, bushpigs are omnivorous. Apart from insects and carrion, they also eat fruit, roots, bulbs and forbs:

We tend to think of zebras being predominantly grazers, yet they also include shrubs, bark, twigs, leaves and herbs in their diet: