What is a tusk? Why have tusks?


We all know what a tusk is, it is one of the words that are found in almost all conversations about elephants.  There are also other species of mammals with tusks such as the warthog and also the bush pig.


The tusk is a canine tooth that grows constantly and this is also one of the bigger differences between tusks and teeth, in elephants these can get very large with weights of over 80 kg that is more than what the average human weighs.


So what are they used for? Elephants use them as foraging tools and not just as weapons, they strip bark of trees, dig for the roots of plants and also use them to break smaller branches, where with the warthog it is also used to forage but they will also use them in defense, if they are disturbed they will take off and run, then if cornered, they will use the head as a battering ram, this can cause serious cuts in soft skinned animals e.g. cheetahs, leopards and even lion could be injured. This truly makes a warthog a worthy opponent.


Armand Steyn


Kapama Main Lodge

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