Pumbaa's New Friends
Publication Information

Hakuna Matata


1995 – 1997



For coloring and informational errors, see here.

Pumbaa's New Friends is a magazine story inspired by The Lion King. It was published in three issues of The Lion King: A Nature Fun and Learn Series as part of the Hakuna Matata magazine series.


Pumbaa learns what it takes to be a real warthog.


Part 1

Pumbaa's New Friends begins by introducing Simba, the self-exiled prince of the Pride Lands, and his two friends, Timon and Pumbaa. At the start of the story, the three friends are playing "Catch-you," with Simba and Timon running and hiding while Pumbaa tries to find them. During the course of the game, Pumbaa manages to throw Timon into a mud hole, and the mud-happy warthog joins him in the goo. While the friends are basking in the mud together, they are joined by a family of warthogs, who immediately begin to bond with Pumbaa.

The friends play with the young warthogs until they tire themselves out, and Pumbaa asks his friends if he can stay with the warthog family for a while so that he can learn how to be a real warthog. Happy for their friend, Simba and Timon agree, and Pumbaa spends a week with the mother warthog and her young. Though all of the young warthogs adore Pumbaa, the eldest, Growler, grows jealous of all the attention Pumbaa is receiving and does his best to make the newcomer's life difficult.

Over time, Growler's mother notices her son's bullying behavior and warns him to leave Pumbaa alone. She then comforts Pumbaa, encouraging him to ignore her son's grouchy ways, and continues to teach him about life as a warthog. As the family moves through the land, sheltering in burrows and holes, they stumble across a warthog sounder. With permission from the chief warthog, the family takes up residence with the sounder.

Part 2

While staying with the sounder, Pumbaa does his best to make amends with Growler, but the young warthog ridicules Pumbaa for being a disgrace to the name of warthog. While listening to the chief warthog talk to his family, Growler gets an idea to frame Pumbaa for trying to take the sounder's land, which will get him in trouble with the chief warthog.

Meanwhile, Simba and Timon are having a relaxing time in the jungle. However, they both miss Pumbaa dearly and resolve to bring their friend back home.

Back in the sounder's territory, Pumbaa is horrified to find that the young warthogs are feasting on a rotting hyena corpse. To the warthog's surprise, Growler's mother laughs and informs Pumbaa that with food being hard to come by, even rotting carcasses are fair game for warthogs. Despite understanding the lesson, Pumbaa decides to stick with fruit for his meal.

As Pumbaa continues to spend time with the family, Growler slips away and speaks with the chief warthog, lying to him that Pumbaa has plans to steal the sounder's land. Enraged, the chief warthog agrees to ambush Pumbaa when Growler leads him to the Rocks. With the plan in motion, Growler acts unusually friendly toward Pumbaa and tricks him into following him to the Rocks.

Part 3

When the young warthogs notice that Pumbaa is missing, Growler's mother grows worried that Growler is getting him into trouble. Sure enough, Growler has led Pumbaa to the Rocks, where the chief warthog and his followers are surrounding Pumbaa. Satisfied, Growler leaves, but he is soon cornered by Simba and Timon, who demand to know where their friend is. Though Growler tries to escape, he is pinned down by Simba and Timon, and he reluctantly admits his dastardly plans against Pumbaa. Overhearing this, Growler's mother admonishes her son and banishes him from the family.

Meanwhile, Pumbaa is trying to reason with the angry warthogs. In his bumbling explanation, he manages to make them all laugh with his silly antics, and Growler's mother comes up just in time, breathlessly explaining her son's trickery to the chief warthog. Relieved to not have to hurt Pumbaa, the sounder invites Pumbaa and his friends to share one last meal of grubs with them. After the meal, Pumbaa says his goodbyes, and the three friends return home.