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Dolly’s Story

November 2020 and very depressed after being in Covid lock down for some eight months, I was barely clinging on, something needed to change. I had already lost both my tourism related businesses and had to rehome many of my beloved horses as there was no funding to keep them. Horse trails was my everyday job out in our beautiful mountains. I needed something….

Guess What I Got?

The farm gates had been shut in the early stages of Covid. “No entry” signs were displayed and no-one other than staff were allowed on the property.

One day I happened to be near the gate to the stable yard (my most common place on the farm and the hub of all animal activities), when the wife of one of my staff called me. In her arms she had two baby warthogs. Only a couple of hours before I had heard the rifle shots as a trigger-happy neighbor had blown away their mother.

Right here I have to mention I am very anti-hunting, I have zero tolerance so you can try to persuade me till you’re blue in the face, I will never agree to the “sport” and unnecessary killing of our beautiful wildlife.

I grabbed the two little bundles, one under each arm and took them straight into my house. Dolly and Molly, two baby girls. There was a third baby and although we searched for a couple of days along the river bank where the others were found, sadly we never did find number three. It was clear from the start that Molly wasn’t well. She had an injury on her little torso and struggled with the milk bottle. Dolly climbed into the feeding and settled in very fast. We lost Molly on day two, I believe she was injured when the bullet hit her mom, possibly fallen on or trampled.

Dolly & Jaco

Very quickly Jaco took on his role of assistant care giver. He and Dolly became firm friends, tearing around the farm together. Dolly grew fast and one evening as I switched off the light, Dolly landed on top of me with a thud. She had been trying for some time to follow Jaco onto my bed. She had succeeded. My trouble had started…..

Help, There's A Warthog In My Bed

The bigger she grew, the smaller my bed got. I even went as far as bringing in a second bed and putting it next to mine. That didn’t work either, she had to be as close as possible to me, her mother. As her tusks developed, she started getting destructive and the time came to move out the house. She was as big as my white Alsatian, Lucy, now and definitely weighed more than me!

I built her a hiding hole right outside my bedroom door in my workshop. She had blankets, pillows and any other creature comforts I could lavish on her. After 3 nights of pure hell, Dolly finally accepted that she was no longer allowed in the house and has been in her own bedroom for around a year now.

Clever Warthog

I soon realized Dolly’s intellectual abilities. This was one very clever little warthog. It took only a few hours to teach her to sit the same as the dogs for a biscuit. She’s very selective however as to what biscuit brands she eats! Spoiled brat 🙂 Although she is by the book an omnivore, Dolly eats the dog food with vengeance!

A Warthog's Tail

When they walk, their tail hangs down, but when they run, their tail sticks up, with just the small bushy tip hanging down. This may serve as a warning to other warthogs if danger is near or be used for their family members to follow through the grass. The tail has unusual snake-like markings on it with a slight pinkish tinge, almost imitating snake skin scales.

Warthog Facts

 They are named for the ‘wart’ on the sides of their face. However, these are not warts at all, but rather protrusions made up of bone and cartilage. These protrusions act as padding and protection for when males fight during mating season.

Warthogs can reach speeds of up to 48km/h (30mph) when running. This speed helps them outrun predators and reach their dens for safety.

Warthogs kneel to feed because they have short necks and relativity long legs. They have adapted by developing special protective knee pads. 

They are classified as ‘cooperative breeders’. Warthog sows have been known to foster nurse piglets if they have lost their own litter. This is known as allosucking and is considered as altruism rather than mistaken identity or milk theft. Warthogs love being groomed. Dolly enjoys a brush from her human while in the wild they allow the banded mongoose and vervet monkeys to do the job and remove ticks from their hides.


What more can I say 🙂

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