Warthog gets nasty surprise

Having lived in Luangwa for nearly seven years, I have seen a lot of fascinating wildlife events. What follows is one of the most unusual that I can remember, although it is perhaps remarkable that I have not seen it more often.

I was driving with two guests – both photographers with considerable experience on safari – through one of the most densely populated game areas in the park. A lone warthog caught my eye; why would a sub-adult warthog be grazing alone, when there were other warthogs elsewhere in the area. I didn’t think much more of it until we approached closer and I could see that there were two porcupine quills deeply embedded in her rear end!


The warthog didn’t seem to be concerned with the quills, and continued feeding with us parked close by. After a moment’s thought, it’s possible to see how this came about; the warthog, perhaps startled by a threat, reverses rapidly down her burrow and finds that, while she’s been out, a nocturnal porcupine has taken up residence! Warthogs and porcupines are known to use the same burrows, one setting out for the night shift as the other returns to rest.

Considering how often these animals share burrows, it is interesting that I had never seen this before. I found the warthog the following day and the quills were still embedded deeply, but she was showing no signs of infection or distress!

Article & Images by: Edward Selfe