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Meet Olive and Clover just in time for Galentine's Day!

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications

Olive and Clover are 2 1/2 year old sisters who have recently joined our warthog group. Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo
Say hello to the newest, most beautiful warthogs—Olive and Clover. These 2 ½ year old sisters made their debut in the warthog habitat last week after coming to Seattle from Jacksonville, Florida late last year. For now, the girls are getting comfortable on the public side of their new home—while behind the scenes, they’re slowly being introduced to Dennis, our resident male warthog who will be 9 years old this spring. Eventually these three not-so-little piggies will all have access to their yard together.

Clover and her sister love rooting around through the ground in their exhibit. That big snout and those tusks are perfect rooting tools for a species that digs around for tubers, berries, grasses and bulbs! Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo
Common warthogs—as the species is called—are wild members of the pig family, which are related to boars and hogs. They’re native to the grasslands, savannas, and woodlands in sub-Saharan Africa. The species name comes from the thick growths of skin that pad their wide, flat faces. They look like warts but it’s believed they actually function as padding to protect their faces during mating season battles. Since the males are the ones that do most of the fighting, the females tend to have less facial padding and are generally smaller overall.

Dennis is our resident male warthog. He is larger than the females and has bigger tusks and warty face pads!  Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo
Other than those warty pads, warthogs are most commonly recognized by the pairs of tusks that protrude from their mouth and curve upwards. Not only are they good for defense, but they also help this herbivore to dig up the roots, berries, grasses and bulbs that make up the bulk of their diet. When feeding, warthogs will often kneel down on their front legs. Their eyesight isn’t the best, but that nose gives them an excellent sense of smell, so getting down closer to the ground helps warthogs to sniff out all the best morsels.

Pretty girl! Olive has a big notch on the top of her left ear, making her stand out from her sister. Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo
In nature, warthogs are quite social, so we hope it won’t be long before Olive, Clover and Dennis are sharing their habitat together—and maybe sharing their favorite snack of yams and pumpkin. There won’t be any breeding for this group (Dennis is neutered) but we think Olive and Clover will be great companions for Dennis, who has been on his own since the loss of his sister and long-time companion, Martha, who passed away last year. You’ll be able to recognize Dennis as the biggest of the three. The two girls are closer in size, but Olive has a prominent notch on the top of her left ear, which makes her stand out from her sister. Her face is also a little darker than Clover’s.

Celebrate Galentine's Day with Olive and Clover!

In the mood to celebrate your bestie on February 13? Use our forest-friendly candy guide to pick out a few treats fit for a queen (, then honor your gal pals with a trip to visit Olive and Clover or surprise them with a zoo gift card ( which can be used towards admission, memberships or that coveted ZooStore hoodie!