Armed with a set of tusks, the warthog isn’t altogether powerless. But is it fearsome enough to send animals more than twice its size packing? In this exclusive extract from the book Photo Tales, Louis and Ina Taljaard share their surprising images.

There are some wildlife encounters no-one would believe if there weren’t pictures to prove it. These are the pictures collected in Photo Tales, a book of the most thrilling and amusing wildlife shots as well as the stories behind the images.

One such mind-boggling story is of a grumpy warthog that was feeling overly possessive of a Kruger waterhole. To the extent that he was determined to chase off all comers, no matter their size. Louis and Ina Taljaard captured the showdown, shared here with permission from Photo Tales (HPH Publishing).

Louis tells their story:

It was during a trip to the Kruger National Park when we visited a waterhole located between Sirheni and Punda Maria. As a result of the severe drought in the region the dam had turned into a mud bath.

A large variety of animals frequented this spot seeking to quench their thirst. Some ventured into the dam while others tried to extract a bit of water from the surface of the mud around the edges of the pool.

We spotted a warthog that behaved as if the pool belonged to him. He was chasing all and sundry away from the water. He didn’t care who he faced up to. Size simply didn’t matter to him.

With the waterhole turning into a mud bath, the local warthogs found plenty to wallow in. But one warthog didn’t want to share the dam with other animals.

When antelope neared the water’s edge in search of a drink, the feisty hog would scare them off.

A zebra kicked up dust as it made tracks, with the cantankerous warthog in hot pursuit.





When the showdown got serious

We kept him in our sights and before long we saw him squaring up to a buffalo bull. The two were eye-balling each other for quite some time, each with a yellow-billed oxpecker perched on its back as a second for the duel to follow.

The warthog moved forward in a flash, gave his opponent a whack against its horn that sounded like a pistol shot from where we sat, and then took off as fast as it could. The buffalo was so surprised that it hardly moved before the attacker took flight.

In light of the warthog’s determination and fearlessness, my wife named him the Jack Russell of the Kruger.

Dynamite comes in small packages! Even a bulky Cape buffalo came into the firing line.


More Photo Tales

“The Jack Russell of Kruger” is one of 71 photo stories collected in Photo Tales. Enjoy a treasure trove of once-in-a-lifetime sightings, all in one book. The jaw-dropping images and sequences in Photo Tales have been chosen from hundreds of submissions. At R295 it is the perfect Christmas gift for a loved one – or for yourself.

Have you come across a sighting that rivals the grouchy warthog? Your wildlife photo or action sequence could be immortalised in print. Submit your contribution for the chance to see your work featured in the second edition of Photo Tales.

Also read: Get to know the plucky warthog, a closer look at what makes warthogs special.