Finding a pair of elephant bulls in a rip roaring battle is pretty hard to the core, and seeing 2 huge male lions with claws and teeth clashing is a pretty sobering sight. Both sights would almost certainly make any human being feel vulnerable and most probably send shivers down our spines. But can the same be said about the little warthogs, known more for their unfavorable appearance than fighting prowess or athletic ability in the boxing ring? The answer my friends you will have to decide on for yourselves.
By now you are probably wondering if there is a point to this tale and yes, there is. We were heading back to camp after a most satisfactory morning safari when we came upon a family of warthogs. At first glance they seemed to be pretty relaxed until 2 big boars decided it was time to bring out the boxing gloves! For an animal of relatively small stature the warthog packs a pretty good punch and it was evident for all of us to see. The 2 boars had us enthralled for about 7 min with head butting, chasing and total chaos. What warthogs will do is feel each other out by slowly circling one another looking for a weakness. If neither backs out they will raise the hair on their backs to try look bigger than the opponent. If this doesn’t work they will get physical and when I say physical I mean it in every sense of the word. Both boars put up a brave fight as neither wanted to look bad in front of the sows (females). I guess this is when animals and humans are not so different from each other! Needless to say it was an entertaining spectacle with both boars getting through unhurt and the victor strutting his stuff. It’s not always the big guns that make an impression – the little guys also raise the bar pretty high. Though it was not quite the same as a lion battle, my respect for the not so handsome warthog has increased, and once again I returned from safari ever more respect for the bush and its animals.
Story by Josh Beaton, River Lodge Ranger