Reuben Maness, Oakland Zoo
OAKLAND, Calif. - Seven baby warthogs are now on exhibit at Oakland Zoo. Almost three years ago, female warthogs Frenchie and Alice were brought to Oakland Zoo in hopes of a 'love connection' with Simon - the Zoo's resident male.
It took a little while but Alice and Frenchie have both given birth to litters exactly one week apart.
Frenchie birthed the first litter of three on May 6, and days later the second litter of four piglets was born to Alice on May 13th.
Both sows are also first-time moms. Zookeepers have been readying for the piglets' arrival for months, via closed circuit cameras in the animals' night house dens and continue to monitor the maternal care and the developmental milestones of the piglets.
"We are thrilled to have two litters of healthy piglets! Both sows, "Frenchie" and "Alice" are first time moms, and are doing a wonderful job and being very protective. All seven piglets are just now beginning to explore their surroundings under the watchful eyes of their moms and keepers," Lovesong Cahill, Senior Zookeeper.
Over the next couple months, both litters will have access to the exhibit, but may or may not be visible depending on their preference to come out or stay in the warthogs' night house.
Warthogs typically birth two to three piglets complete with tusks to jockey for the best nursing position.
The piglets, covered in a sparse coarse fur, are quite mobile soon after birth, but remain in the den for 10-20 days.
They will wean from the sow at about three months old. Both sexes are born with the characteristic 'mutton chops', but males are easily determined by 'warts' that are visible at birth.
Both sexes eventually develop 'warts', but boars display the most obvious protuberances of thick fleshy pads below their eyes and above their tusks, which protect their face when competing for females.
None of the piglets have been sexed yet as Zookeepers are keeping their distance to allow the dams and piglets their privacy.