Written by Memory Mays
What’s the cutest four-legged animal with mutton chops? Our newest addition to our warthog family here at the Houston Zoo! We’d like to introduce to you little Gus. Born to parents Akoko and Lenny on May 6, Gus has designated himself as our official wild bird chaser of the warthog habitat at our zoo. He does a great job of it, too! Until he realizes that he’s wandered a little too far away from his mother; then it’s a mad dash back to mom’s side. Gus is the first warthog piglet that our zoo has seen in nearly 10 years.
Gus has the typical curiosity of a warthog piglet, but will actually leave his mom’s side more and more the older he gets. As he grows older, he will start to grow two protrusions from each side of his face. These are the namesake of the warthog. They are called warts. The warts on male warthogs are much larger and much more noticeable than those found on females. Even though warts may sound gross to us, they are actually very useful for the male warthogs. During breeding season, male warthogs will compete with one another by sparring. The males will charge one another and meet face to face with their tusks. The warts help protect their eyes from the damage that these tusks could do during these sparring sessions.