by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
It was March 2010. Not, I hasten to add, in our garden, but at Addo Elephant National Park.
|Disconcerted? Look at my watermark|
An exceedingly strange looking animal. With a head much too big for its body, like an unfortunately crossed, mongrel dog. And then it has huge tusks, and knobby bits on its head. Erratic wisps of long fur, and a tail which looks as if Mother Nature was rudely interrupted, then forgot to finish it off.
When warthogs eat or drink, need to get the head down to the ground, they appear to bend their front knees, the wrong way. Actually they are resting on the heels of their hands. Just, where the heel of our hand is on the palm, theirs is a callus on the back of the wrist. Most uncomfortable to see, or think about!
|Warthog on knees|
They usually have 3 or 4 babies. Who are BORN with those ‘heels on the back of their wrists’. They dig for roots and bulbs, using their back legs to shovel themselves forward.
Would not like to attempt to nuzzle and cuddle, with all those tusks.
|Pair of warthogs at Addo|
We parked up and watched this pair for a while. One warthog was lying down when we arrived. The second was having breakfast. He wandered over - 'Are you alright dear? Anything I can do for you?' Then they both had a rest.
|Warthogs resting at Addo|
With those ferocious tusks, it is quite strange to see him moving methodically over the greensward. A ‘sheep may safely graze’ lawnmower. Leaving a meticulously manicured green velvet swathe behind him.
|Warthog mowing alone|
However THIS lawnmower, if he digs up small animals like mice. That mouse is also down the hatch, grist to his mill. They will eat anything, mostly plants, but also animals, dead or alive. Not so peaceful after all.
We began with spekboom and will return with Addo elephants. If you'd prefer flowers ... Wildflower Wednesday in our Swartland garden at Elephant's Eye in Porterville.
Pictures by Diana Studer
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