Boar vs warthog, what are the differences? They both belong to the Suidae (pig) family and have large heads and tusks, but they have their differences but also share a few similarities.
In this article, you will find out everything you ever wanted to know about wild boar and warthogs.
Boars are bulky animals with short legs and thick short necks. Their heads are so big they take up one-third of their body’s length. All boars are covered in hair, with boars in hotter climates having shorter hair. Some male boar subspecies have a mane running along the spine, which is most noticeable in autumn and winter.
The males are typically 20 – 30% heavier than the females, with the adult’s weight influenced by the environment’s abundant food and water supply. If the boars live in arid conditions, they are smaller.
Boars in Europe weigh 75 – 100 kg (165 – 220 lb). They have a shoulder height of 75 – 80 cm (2.5 – 2.6 ft) with a body length of 1.5 m (4.9 ft). Females have an average weight of 60 – 80 kg (130 – 180 lb), 70 cm (2.3 ft) at shoulder height and have a body length of 1.4 m (4.6 ft). The biggest male boars in Europe can weigh 200 kg (400 lb), with the largest females weighing 120 kg (260 lb).
The biggest adult males ever recorded live in Manchuria and Ussuriland, weighing 270 kg (600 lb) and measuring 1.2 (4 ft) at the shoulder. Boars this big are immune from wolf attacks, but it is rare to find boars this big due to overhunting. Boars in the Mediterranean are a lot smaller, with males weighing as little as 50 kg (110 lb) and females 45 kg (99 lb) and an average shoulder height of 64 cm (2 ft).
The boar’s canine teeth are called tusks, with males having larger tusks than females. The upper tusks are short and grow sideways before curving upwards. The lower tusks are 10 – 12 cm (3.9 – 4.7 in), and they can cause serious damage when a boar bites.
During the mating season, males develop thicker skin from the shoulder blades along to the rump. The skin is 2 – 3 cm (0.8 – 1.2 in) thick. The extra thickness protects the vital organs during fights. The boar, like all pigs, has a terrific sense of smell. They can sniff out food deep underground.
The boar is an excellent digger able to quickly move a lot of soil using its strong neck and shoulder muscles to drive its head into the ground. They can dig down as far as 8 – 10 cm (3 – 4 in) in frozen ground and move rocks weighing 40 – 50 kg (88 – 110 lb) with no problem.
Like the boar, the warthog has a large head compared to the body but has a more established mane running along the spine. They have sparse hair covering the body and have a long tail that ends with a tuft of hair.
Males weigh 60 – 150 kg (132 – 330 lb) with females weighing 45 – 75 kg (99 – 165 lb). They have a head and body length of 0.9 – 1.5 m (3 – 4.9 ft) and a shoulder height of 63 – 85 cm (2 – 2.8 ft).
The warthog has more prominent tusks than the boar, with males having bigger tusks than females. Both upper and lower tusks curve upwards, with the lower pair being the shortest. The upper tusks can grow 25.5 cm (10 in) long.
The tusks are not used for digging but for self-defence against predators and for fighting other warthogs. The lower pair of tusks are extremely sharp from rubbing the upper pair every time the mouth opens and closes. They can cause severe damage in a fight.
They never dig their own burrows, using naturally formed holes or abandoned aardvark burrows. The warthog has lumps on its face hence the name warthog, but they aren’t warts but fatty lumps. They protect the warthog’s face when fighting other males.
Warthog, just like the boar, is adaptable and can survive without water for several months. It is able to cope with the dry season with no problem. Pigs all share some immunity against snake venom. They have a modification that stops the poison from binding in their body.
Both the boar and warthog are relatively fast animals, but there is a slight difference in how fast they can run. When running, the wild boar can reach a maximum speed of 25 mph (40 kph).
The warthog has a faster speed running at 30 mph (48 kph). They use their speed as their first line of defence when threatened. They run to their burrow, reversing backwards with their face sticking out and using their tusks to gouge the predator.
The wild boar mainly inhabits forests, woodlands and grasslands in cold and hot climates. They are very adaptable, often becoming pests when introduced into an unsuitable environment.
The common warthog is found in the savanna, grassland and woodland. In comparison, the desert warthog lives in arid scrubland, thin forest and sandy plains but needs access to water. So tend to live next to nearby villages or natural springs.
The boar is an omnivore, with its diet split between 4 groups. When ripe, they eat seeds and nuts. They eat plant material from below ground, like roots and bulbs that they dig up throughout the year.
They will also eat green shoots along with the leaves and bark from trees. Finally, they consume other animals like small mammals, rodents, lizards, snakes, frogs, insects, worms, birds eggs and carrion.
They can also survive eating a variety of poisonous plants.
The boar’s habitat has a significant impact on what food they eat. For instance, boars that live near lakes and rivers will consume a higher percentage of fish. They will go after the most abundant food source.
The warthog is also an omnivore but what separates it from the boar and all other pigs is they have adapted to being grazes. From an early age, all warthogs develop callus pads. As they often bend their feet backwards and feed on their wrists, the pads protect their wrists.
Its diet comprises of grasses, roots, fruits, barks, eggs, insects and carrion. Their diet changes with the seasons. During the wet season, they primarily graze on grass. In the dry season, they will eat roots, bulbs and anything else they can find.
As the wild boar population covers much of the earth, they have a wide range of predators. In the west, the wolf is the boar’s main predator, with a single wolf able to kill 50 – 80 boars a year of different ages.
Boars have difficulty moving in the snow, becoming easy prey for wolves. In some areas with deep enough snow, the wolves can eliminate the entire boar population in the area. The wolves usually go after piglets and young adults but rarely attack sows, and males are avoided altogether.
People also regularly hunt wild boar, especially where the boar is classed as an invasive species. Before guns were used for hunting, the boars were tough to take down due to their thick hide. And boars ambushing hunters with their tusks when in close combat can be dangerous.
In eastern countries, the boar’s main predators are the leopard, tiger and komodo dragon. Leopards generally avoid adults as they weigh too much for the leopard to handle. As tigers are bigger and more powerful, they can wipe out an entire family of boars picking the members off one by one.
This is not without its risks. In rare cases, tigers have been found dead where the boar’s tusks have gored them. The komodo dragon is the boar’s main predator on the island of Komodo. The piglets are the most vulnerable, with their predators being yellow-throated martens, lynxes, jungle cats, leopards, tigers, wolves, brown bears and the komodo dragon.
As the warthog only inhabits Africa, it has a smaller range of predators. They include lions, leopards, cheetahs, crocodiles, hyenas, wild dogs and humans. Piglets are also preyed upon by eagle owls and martial eagles.
Both female boars and warthogs will aggressively protect their piglets by charging at the predator with their tusks to gore or bite.
Different variations of wild boar have emerged as they have spread across the world. The boar has been divided into four regional groups containing 16 different subspecies.
- Central European boar is a medium-sized subspecies with a dark to rusty brown-haired coat living in most of continental Europe and Eurasia.
- Mediterranean boar is significantly smaller than the central European boar, and the fur is a dull olive-fawn colour. They live in Sardinia, Corsica and Andalusia.
- The North African boar is smaller than the central European boar but has longer tusks. They live in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.
- Carpathian boar are large with lighter hair colouring than the central European boar. They range from the Balkans, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, the Caspian coast, Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Asia Minor and northern Iran.
- Anatolian boar are small and pale. They live in Turkey, Levant and Transcaucasia.
- Middle Asian boar are large, lightly coloured with black legs covering Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Tien Shan.
- Maremman boar live in Maremma in central Italy, but the subspecies have been questioned to exist still as the population has been heavily diluted. Since the 1950s, it has been bred with the central European boar by farmers and hunters.
- Trans-Baikal boar have black hair with a light grey patch between the cheeks and ears. They live in the Lake Baikal region, Transbaikalia and Northern Mongolia.
- Ussuri boar is the largest subspecies living in Ussuri, Amur Bay and eastern China.
- Japanese boar are small and almost maneless with a yellowish brown colour. They cover the whole of Japan apart from the Ryukyu and Hokkaido Islands.
- Ryukyu boar is a small subspecies found only on the Ryukyu Islands.
- Formosan boar is a small black boar found only in Taiwan.
- Northern Chinese boar, there are a variety of variations within this subspecies. They live in China and Vietnam.
- Indian boars have a slim build, a brinded black coat, and a long mane running down their back. They live in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Nepal, and western Thailand.
- Central Asian boar are small with brown hair and have a mane like the Indian boar. They inhabit Pakistan, northwestern India and southeastern Iran.
- A banded pig is a short-faced and small boar sparsely covered in hair living in Malaysia, Sumatran and Komodo.
The common warthog is divided into four subspecies spread across Africa.
- Nolan Warthog lives in Sudan, Ethiopia, Chad, Senegal, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Ghana, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Ivory Coast.
- Southern Warthog inhabits South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
- Eritrea Warthog lives in Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia.
- Central African Warthog comes from Tanzania and Kenya.
The desert warthog is a separate subspecies and can be told apart from the common warthog by its more prominent snout, tips of the ears curling over and no incisors. They live in central and eastern Kenya and range from western Somalia to southeastern Ethiopia.
Main Differences Between the Warthog and Boar
- Warthogs have longer tusks than wild boars.
- Boars are larger and heavier than warthogs.
- Wild boar are mainly nocturnal, while warthogs are diurnal.
- Boars have a thick coat of hair covering their complete body, whereas warthogs are sparsely covered in hair.
- Warthogs live exclusively in Africa’s savannas, woodlands and deserts and comprise of five subspecies. The wild boar is far more widespread; they cover most of Eurasia and have been introduced to Northern America. The boar has four regional groups with 16 different subspecies.
- Boars and warthogs are omnivores, but the warthog mainly eats grass.
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