A day in the life of a Warthog: Part One

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Close your eyes and imagine…The sun started its daily walk across the massive African sky about half an hour ago and its light has gently filled the world around you. A pair of Southern Yellow Billed Hornbills begin noisily calling from the big, shady Apple Leaf tree just outside your burrow and as you open your sleepy eyes and take deep breath, you smell that wonderful earthy smell that is so akin to your home under the ground. You have only just recently moved into your new subterranean apartment and all the renovations that were needed have already been completed. You look around and feel very satisfied with life as you stretch out your tail and prepare for your exit.

The problem with living in a burrow, however, is that you can never be quite sure as to whether it is safe to make your way out and into the open or not. That is why you rely on bursting out your front door in the hope that if there is one of those pesky predators waiting for you on the outside, that you will at least start off with the upper hand. You listen carefully for any signs of potential danger lurking, and when you are reasonably happy, you sprint out the opening of your burrow and into the bright morning sunlight.

‘Time for breakfast’, you think to yourself as you trot along happily towards where you know a patch of the most delicious green grass shoots are growing. You move through the bush on a well utilised game path, with your tail pointing straight up into the air, and it’s not long until you reach your tasty destination.

Warthogs are often the most facinating animals to watch. They really have their lives well sorted out! Thanks to a diet of grass, roots, bulbs, rhizomes and stolons (and the occasional accidental earth worm), they are able to avoid competition over food sources and meet their required nutrient intake pretty quickly and without too much fuss. This allows them the wonderfully satisfying luxary off being able to have a relaxed midday mud wallow in a mud pool and a good nights sleep in the reasonable safety of a burrow.

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