Conservation & environment

Bustling of the bush pig…

20 September 2019

Did you hear (about) the bushpigs?

At night our most frequent visitors are the bushpigs. A lot of guests have never heard about them and as being nocturnal, bushpigs are not easy to spot. We often hear them just behind our bandas, hustling through the dried leaves, chewing on roots and cracking nuts. And on a cloudy day we even might see them in the mornings or late afternoons.

Bushpigs occur wherever there is dense cover and regular water supply, so one can imagine that the Mahale Mountains are just the perfect habitat for them. They are larger than the common warthog, males can grow up to 230 lb. There is a prominent dorsal crest running from the nape to the rump. They are omnivorous and their diet can include roots, carrion , small birds and mammals, invertebrates and fruits. They grunt softly while foraging, and make a long, resonant growl as an alarm call. Bushpigs run fast and swim easily. Their sense of smell and hearing are very good, but eyesight only fair.

Always exciting to see them as they do look funny, and yet at night when they are having a feast what feels like right next to your bed, happily grunting and chewing, you feel like flashing a light at them to make them move and let you go back to sleep. I guess the most unforgettable of these nightly encounters was when Fabio had to get up and outside of our banda to chase the bushpigs away and too late realised that he was standing in the middle of a line of safari ants. The bushpigs left so it was quite again, yet the newly obtained peacefulness was diminished slightly by the ice-cold shower at two o’clock in the morning to get rid of the ants smile Fun fact: a group of bushpigs is called a sounder.

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