Saturday, December 01, 2012

Ah, the sensitive and lovely warthog . . .

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
As we entered the very large Ngorongoro Crater, we were treated to another amazing diversity of animals. Roughly 25,000 animals live in this natural conservation area, untroubled by day visitors -- or by the lions who rested in the long grasses on this hot afternoon. As we descended to the base of this volcanic crater, we had a sense of awe for we had just learned this area has been home to some form of humans for the last three million years. 

The warthog in all its beauty!
Who could not find a warthog lovely for its almost anachronistic face alone? That formidable looking warthog, really a wild pig, delights in feeding on the grasslands of the Ngorongoro, also snacking on fungus, insects, eggs, or any carrion that's laying about. Its tusks can give predators a nasty twist; its ears flicker constantly, as does its little fly-whip tail.

We watched as this particular warthog engineered his own comfort (see video below) by using those nasty tusks to carve a mud hole just a little larger. 

video

Unpreturbed by nearby "safari jeeps," he settled down, perhaps bothered by that very same complaint of the omnivorous spotted hyena! Actually, I learned from Wikipedia that the warthog's thin skin (who knew?), makes him very sensitive to changes in temperature. That mud bath cools him down.



At rest in self-made mud bath!

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