Wild boar are the pig that is thought to have been domesticated over a period of thousands of years, to give us our familiar domestic pig. They can be a fearsome animal to encounter, as they have a powerful body-shape, they snort very loudly, and they often have sharp tusks.
However, they rarely attack humans unless cornered, or unless it is a female protecting her piglets. Wild boar are farmed in many countries, but they often escape, and they do a lot of damage to the habitat and other animals. Read on to learn about the wild boar.
Description of the Wild Boar
Wild boars have a typical domestic pig shape with a long, blunt snout, small eyes, and large ears. They are more long-legged and appear more powerful than domestic pigs. They may also have a small hump on the shoulder.
Wild boars have a very coarse coat with thick, short hairs, and some sub-species have a tall, erect mane which can extend down the entire length of the body. They are usually brown, but can appear rusty-red or black. Depending on the sub-species, both males and females may have tusks, although these are almost always longer in males.
Interesting Facts About the Wild Boar
Wild boar have been domesticated for thousands of years, and have been taken by humans to a wide variety of countries and habitats. They are a very intelligent animal and highly adaptable. This means there are many interesting facts about wild boar.
- Collective Noun – A group of wild boars is called a “sounder.”
- Sense of Smell – Their sense of smell is so good they are used as drug detectors in some countries.
- Early Domestication – Wild boars were one of the first animals to be domesticated – over 6,000 years ago.
- Tusks – Their lower tusks can be 3 in (7 cm), long and are very sharp
- Squealing – Their squeal can be as loud as 110 to 115 decibels, compared to the 100 decibels of the noise from a motorcycle.
- Razorbacks – Some sub-species have a thick, erect mane that runs down their backs to their tails, giving them the name “razorback.”
Habitat of the Wild Boar
Wild boar live in a wide range of habitats, all of which usually include a water source and thick brush for protection from predators. The live in scrublands, grasslands, wetlands, rain forests, temperate forests, and savannas.
Distribution of the Wild Boar
Wild boar are possibly one of the most widely distributed mammals in the world. They live on all of the continents of the World, with the exception of the Arctic and Antarctica. This is because humans have moved them around the world for food, but many of them have escaped and started wild breeding populations.
Diet of the Wild Boar
Wild boars are omnivores, and it has been said they will eat almost anything. Their diet includes nuts, acorns, seeds, roots, fruit, rodents, and small reptiles. They will occasionally eat carrion, such as downed livestock (especially lambs, kids, and calves), wildlife (e.g. deer and quail), and the eggs of sea turtles.
Wild Boar and Human Interaction
Wild boar are farmed and used for hunting. Populations of boar often cause immense problems because of their digging (rooting) behavior, which can be extremely destructive to the environment. They dig up gardens, make ground unusable for farming, dig holes in roads, and have even dug up graveyards!
It has been estimated that, in the United States alone, wild boars cause $1.5 billion worth of damage each year. They can also be aggressive to humans and pets, and they transmit diseases to livestock and wildlife. As a consequence of the havoc these animals can cause, many countries cull them, or allow them to be hunted.
It is believed that domestication of wild boar began in China over 6,000 years ago. They are relatively easily farmed and bred, and there are now 16 sub-species, all of which can be considered as domesticated.
Does the Wild Boar Make a Good Pet
These animals have been kept as pets when they have been obtained as piglets; however, they do not make good pets, as they are highly destructive, and very difficult to house train. They can also become unexpectedly aggressive to the owners and other pets.
Wild Boar Care
Wild boar are very similar to domestic pigs, and their care is essentially the same. They do, however, need greater care when handling them because of their aggression, and they require stronger enclosures.
Behavior of the Wild Boar
Wild boar, like other pigs, spend much of their time digging up the ground with their incredibly strong snouts. This behavior is called “rooting.” Wild boar are very social animals, and will often sleep together in a tight huddle, although the males often sleep a small distance away from the females.
Reproduction of the Wild Boar
Sows (females) become sexually mature at about one year of age, with the male boars becoming mature a year later. Females will not usually mate until they are 2 years old, and males when they are 4 – 5 years old. Once they are ready to mate, males travel long distances to find a sounder of sows. Once a sounder has been found, the male drives off the younger and weaker animals.
After a pregnancy (gestation) of 114 – 140 days, the female gives birth to a litter of 6 – 14 piglets (sometimes called “squeakers”). These stay in the nest built by the female for approximately 10 days, and are weaned after about 3 months.
Beliefs, Superstitions, and Phobias About the Wild Boar
In the Chinese zodiac, the pig represents happiness, virility, fortune, and honesty.