Warthogs and Mongooses: Unusual Mutual Benefit Relationship
In the wilds of sub-Saharan Africa, common warthogs exhibit a fascinating behavior to rid themselves of bothersome ticks – they turn to an unexpected ally, a group of resourceful banded mongooses.
When a group of banded mongooses is around, the warthogs have mastered the art of lounging comfortably. The mongooses, acting as a cleaning crew, diligently inspect the warthogs for ticks, going to great lengths, even leaping onto their clients, to rid them of these parasites.
Interactions like this, where different animal species collaborate, are rather uncommon, and this specific example demonstrates a high level of trust between the two parties involved.
Found across grasslands, savannas, and forests throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the common warthog is a distinct type of hog that can reach lengths of up to five feet. Easily recognizable by its pair of tusks, which serve both for digging and defense, warthogs are known for their distinctive appearance.
As for the banded mongoose, it is a small carnivore that resembles a cat and features distinct bands along its back. Typically living in family groups of up to 40 members, this species is well-known for its social behavior.
The interaction between warthogs and mongooses represents a rare example of mutualism, a symbiotic relationship benefiting both species involved. In this case, the warthogs receive tick removal services, and the mongooses get access to a potential meal. Other instances of mutualism in nature include interactions between oxpeckers and animals like rhinos and zebras, as well as bees pollinating flowers while obtaining nectar.
Watch the video to witness this intriguing behavior in action: