Amahle the warthog was out looking for some food one day, when he came across a large termite mound. Aardvark had made a huge hole in the termite mound during the night before. The hole was big enough for Amahle to wander in and so he shuffled in. He thought to himself what a lovely home this would be. Now, Amahle was the vainest and most boastful animal there ever was, even though he was quite fat, not very good looking and not quite clever either. And even though his home was really just one big hole, the thought to himself that he had a home grander than that of any other animal. Ad he liked the idea that all the other animals would be so jealous. So he made the house bigger by clearing out the hole and making the entrance much wider. He thought it was the most magnificent home in Africa and he would often stand at the entrance of his new dwelling with his snout in the air.

Pretty soon Zebra walked past. Amahle ran out and lifted  his head up and pointed his nose and tusks towards the sky in the most boastful manner, without greeting Zebra. Zebra immediately saw that Warthog had made a home that was not very safe. And he said “Amahle, you had better be careful with that home of yours, someone can easily walk in!” Amahle replied that Zebra had to mind his own business and that he was just jealous of his beautiful new home. Zebra was not the kind of animal to get upset by foolish Amahle and simply shook his head and carried on. Then Giraffe, one of the most polite and courteous animals to walk the African lands, passed and said: “My dear friend, what a big and beautiful home you have!” Amahle was very pleased to hear this. Yet he was very pompous and he decided that Giraffe could not be his friend, because he didn’t have a home at all. So he said to Giraffe “You long necked antelope, you mind your own business. I don’t have time to waste on the likes of you!” Giraffe walked away, quite hurt by what Amahle had said. And Amahle thought to himself “Hah, no one has such a fine home!”

Amahle went in to lie down and relax in his big new home. Then he heard a great and loud roar. He panicked. The king of the jungle was on his way to the river, passing his home! He started to back away, but because he had made the entrance to his place so grand, he realized that the lion would have no difficulty in following Amahle right in. “O no”, thought Amahle, and immediately regretted not having listened to the advice of his good friends.   “Ahhhh,” panicked Amahle, “the lion will eat me in my own lounge! What will I do?” Amahle decided to use an old trick he’d heard Jackal bragging about. Amahle pretended to be supporting the roof of his hole with his strong back, pushing up with his tusks. “Help!” he cried to the lion, “I am going to be crushed! The roof is caving in! Flee, oh, mighty lion, before you are crushed along with me!”

Now Lion is no fool. He recognized Jackal’s old ploy straight away, and he wasn’t going to be caught out again. He roared so fiercely that Amahle dropped to his knees, trembling. Amahle begged for mercy. Luckily for him Lion was not too hungry. So he pardoned Amahle and left, saying, “Stay on your knees, you foolish beast!” Lion laughed to himself and shook his shaggy head as he walked away. Imagine, slow-witted Amahle trying to copy Jackal’s trick! Ha, ha! Amahle took Lion’s order to heart. That is why, to this day, you will see warthogs feeding on their knees, in a very undignified position, with their bottoms up in the air and their snouts snuffling in the dust.

A Traditional Zulu Story, from Tales By Roohi. See also https://www.facebook.com/TalesByRoohi


 Eight fascinating facts about the warthog

  1. Wrattenzwijnen zijn wilde verwanten van het varken. En zoals de naam suggereert hebben  wrattenzwijnen vlekken op hun gezicht die lijken op wratten. Het zijn echter dikke huidachtige delen. De ‘wratten’ die dicht bij de ogen liggen zijn groter bij de mannetjes. Deze stootkussens zijn nodig ter bescherming van hun ogen tegen de slagtanden van andere mannetjes. Ze vechten namelijk met elkaar tijdens het paarseizoen.
  2. Wrattenzwijnen hebben net als een olifant slagtanden op hun boven- en onderkaak. Ze gebruiken deze om te vechten en zich te verdedigen tegen roofdieren. Als de grond hard is, gebruiken ze hun snuit en slagtanden ook om de grond om te woelen.
  3. Ze gaan op hun polsen staan wanneer ze grazen. Eeltige kussentjes op de polsen van wrattenzwijnen helpen hen de geboden voorpoten te beschermen. Deze kussentjes worden al vrij vroeg bij de ontwikkeling van de foetus gevormd.
  4. Wrattenzwijnen zijn uiteraard geen kamelen. Toch hebben ze een opvallende overeenkomst: wrattenzwijnen zijn de enige varkens die maandenlang zonder water in hete gebieden kunnen overleven. Hun lichaam houdt binnenin vocht vast, vocht dat ook wordt gebruikt als koelmiddel.
  5. Net als het varken is aangetoond dat wrattenzwijnen over een opmerkelijke intelligentie beschikken. IQ-tests tonen aan dat de familie van het varken (dus ook zijn wilde soortgenoot) slimmer is dan de familie van de hond. In contrast hiermee: de naam Pumba, het wrattenzwijn in Disney’s The Lion King, is ontleend aan het Swahili-woord “pumbaa” wat ‘dwaas’ of ‘idioot’ betekent.
  6. Wrattenzwijnen maken gebruik van holen of tunnels gemaakt door andere dieren zoals aardvarkens (kale nachtelijke zoogdieren) of stekelvarkens. Soms delen ze het hol zelfs met een van deze nachtdieren. Zij zijn immers overdag actief en zo wordt maximaal gebruik gemaakt van het hol!.
  7. Wanneer wrattenzwijnen hun hol betreden, zal het grootste en oudste zwijn als laatste naar binnen gaan. Alle zwijnen gaan achterstevoren het hol in, zodat hun snuit de ingang van het hol blokkeert. Dit is niet alleen goed voor een snelle ontsnapping, maar ook om ervoor te zorgen dat de wapens (slagtanden) al in de starthouding staan als dat nodig is.
  8. Wrattenzwijnen kunnen een aardige leeftijd bereiken: er zijn gevallen bekend dat ze 17 jaar oud zijn geworden.

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