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Desert warthog

Phacochoerus aethiopicus

ssp. aethiopicus (now extinct) and delamerei (northeastern Africa)

Status: Least Concern

Did you know? With its peculiar incisor-less morphology and other cranial features, the desert warthog is the most specialised living suid. As incisors are functionally absent, lips and gums are used to detach or pick up food items.

Desert warthog - Yvonne A. de Jong & Tom


Mainly found in open arid regions. Desert warthogs prefer plains on predominantly sandy soils, and avoid hilly terrain.


Nothing is known. However, the characteristics of their dental morphology suggest an adaptation toward an abrasive diet.


In Ethiopia, desert warthogs can be observed both in family sounders in bushy areas and larger aggregations of up to 30 individuals around permanent wells and close to towns. Sometimes, large numbers of desert warthogs are present (over 100 per village), but sudden fluctuations in the resident population are observed, which raises the question of a possible migration pattern. Little is known about their activity patterns, but the species seems most active during the day, even during hottest hours.


Local incidence of hunting for bushmeat and ivory trade, as well as habitat degradation due to over-grazing by domestic livestock and competition for water with humans and domestic livestock.

Conservation Actions

The species is reported as locally abundant with no major threats. However, the desert warthog is one the most unstudied species and further research is needed to better understand its ecology and behaviour and and to identify factors that may jeopardise its survival.

IUCN WPSG Projects

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