Watch a Mudbathing Warthog Turn on the After Burners and Jet Away from a Lion

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Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Warthog
© John Ceulemans/Shutterstock.com
Key Points:
  • In this video, a warthog escapes a pursuing lion thanks to a distraction from a crocodile.
  • Lions typically hunt by sneaking up on their prey and using the element of surprise.
  • Warthogs can reach speeds of up to 34 mph, making them difficult to catch for many predators. Lions are not the only predators that hunt warthogs; they are also hunted by hyenas, cheetahs, and wild dogs.

One minute, this warthog is taking a relaxing mud bath. The next, it is being pursued at high speed by a hungry lion. We know that lions can travel at high speeds, but this warthog is giving the lion a run for its money. The first time you watch this video, it looks as if the lion pulls up for no reason and allows the warthog to escape. But then you realize that a crocodile has distracted the lion’s attention. As the video shows, perhaps two predators were interested in this prey. Even so, it’s the warthog’s lucky day!

How Do Lions Normally Hunt?

Lion and Hyenas battle over a warthog kill.

Lions, hyenas, cheetahs, and African wild dogs hunt warthogs.

©Mark Sheridan-Johnson/Shutterstock.com

This is a classic lion-hunting technique — and normally it works! The lions are well-camouflaged in the vegetation, which allows them to sneak up on their prey. Once they are close enough, they break cover and accelerate toward the target.

The element of surprise usually gives them an advantage. Lions are fast and are willing to commit to short chases. They can run at up to 37 mph but only keep this up for a few hundred yards. After that, the energy that they use up in the chase is so much that it is not worth it!

This lion is hunting alone, which means that her chances of success are lower. Lions tend to have a better chance of securing a kill if they hunt with others in a pride or a coalition (a group of male lions).

How Fast Can Warthogs Run?

Warthog with huge tuskers drinking by the water's edge

Warthogs can run at 34 miles per hour.

©Peter van Dam/Shutterstock.com

This warthog is pretty speedy! But is being super fast typical of the species? The common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) trots and runs on all four legs. They have a quick, springy stride and can reach speeds of 34 mph, which they can maintain over short distances, which is surprising. This is fast enough to outrun many lions. So, there is no guarantee that this lion would have caught the warthog even if it had not been distracted by the crocodile. If there had been more than one lion, some members of the pride would have run in front of the warthog to cut off its escape route and shared in the prize together.

Lions are the warthog’s principal predator. However, they are also hunted by spotted hyenas, cheetahs, and African wild dogs.

How Big Are Warthogs?

Warthog family in South Africa

Warthogs are family-oriented, social animals of high intelligence.

©Samuel Holland/Shutterstock.com

The warthog is a medium-sized mammal that has an impressive size range. At birth, warthogs are about 8-10 inches long and weigh between 1.5-2.5 pounds. The average litter size for warthogs is between 4-6 piglets.

When warthogs reach adulthood, they can grow up to 39-79 inches long and can weigh anywhere from 115-275 pounds. This size range places them in the medium-sized mammal category, making them larger than the average house cat and smaller than a full-grown horse.

Male warthogs are generally larger than their female counterparts, with males reaching up to 79 inches long and 275 pounds in weight, while females tend to reach around 39 inches long and 115 pounds in weight. This size difference is mainly because males tend to be larger and heavier than females.


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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