Athletic Profile: Pumbaa, Rescue Rangers, Fullback, Nose Tackle.
Pumbaa is a supporting character in Disney’s 1994 animated feature film The Lion King. He is a warthog, and best friends with Timon and later, Simba.
Pumbaa deeply cares for his friends, loves bugs, and longs for friends who would not abandon him. He is awkward in crowds, suggesting shyness, and sometimes displays childlike naivety which is sometimes confused for stupidity. Though Timon would say otherwise, Pumbaa is actually the true brains of the outfit, having both common sense and impressive knowledge over things from nature to science, which he often tries to teach the more dim-witted Timon, but to no true avail (as seen in the stargazing scene in The Lion King where Pumbaa defines what stars really are). Even so, it is Pumbaa’s childish nature that sets the two apart. Whilst Timon can be selfish and greedy, he is still more mature than Pumbaa, overall, thus explaining why he is the de facto leader of the duo, along with the fact that Pumbaa can be very absent-minded at times.
Not only that, Pumbaa is not without his stereotypical dim-witted moments, specifically seen in the television series. For example, in the episode “Boara Boara”, he mistook a starfish for an oversized snowflake, and in “Never Everglades”, Pumbaa believed he was the mother of a newly hatched alligator, despite Timon telling him otherwise for obvious reasons.
Despite his history of being abandoned and possibly even mistreated due to his foul smell, Pumbaa has a strong sense of loyalty and devotion towards his friends, particularly seen when Timon’s selfishness gets himself into trouble despite Pumbaa’s warnings, thus resulting in the warthog having to save the day, still willing to call Timon his closest companion. This is also seen in The Lion King 1½ when Timon refuses to leave for Pride Rock to help Simba, whereas Pumbaa, believing it is the right thing, decides to do so despite knowing he might die in the battle against Scar.
Meaning: dull-witted, stunned (Swahili)
A well-padded warthog, Pumbaa is a bit clumsy and dimwitted, but his empathy and intuition make up for his slow thought processes. Sympathetic and warm-hearted, Pumbaa is ready to trust anyone– even a carnivore like Simba. And when Simba confronts his destiny, the loyal warthog is the first to follow. — © 1994 Skybox
Voice: Ernie Sabella
Animators: Tony Bancroft (supervisor)
The amiable warthog Pumbaa is cursed with the ultimate in social stigma: uncontrollable flatulence. His family background is a mystery, but his story from the point when he meets up with the meerkat Timon tells us all there is to know about his sad exile from the company of those who can’t abide his smell. Dull-witted but packed with common sense, Pumbaa uncomplainingly shoulders the burdens of Timon’s selfish quests, as the most important thing to him—surpassing all else—is loyalty to his friends. He wants to be useful, and he wants to be wanted; and what else, aside from his strength, can he offer a friend?
Pumbaa’s steadfastness makes him the partner anyone would wish to have when the time comes for Simba, who had been raised by Timon and himself in the luxurious ease of the jungle, to return home to Pride Rock and challenge his usurping uncle Scar. Pumbaa unhesitatingly follows Simba and Nala into battle—for he knows the value of duty, hakuna matata or not. His loyalty to the needs of his friend Simba eventually overpowers Timon into following Pumbaa’s honorable example.