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About Wild Boars

The wild boar (Sus scrofa) is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig. It is native in woodlands across much of Central Europe, the Mediterranean Region (including North Africa's Atlas Mountains) and much of Asia & Indonesia, and has been widely introduced in other places as well. It is in the same Suidae biological family as the Warthog and Bushpig of Africa, the Pygmy Hog of northern India, Babirusa of Indonesia and others. It is more distantly related to the peccary or javelina found in the southwestern area of North America and throughout Central and South America.

The term boar is used to denote an adult male of certain species, including, confusingly, domestic pigs. In the case of wild pigs only, it is correct to say "female boar" or "infant wild boar", since boar or wild boar refers to the species itself.
Wild boars are large animals, at times reaching 6 feet in length, and weighing up to 440 lb. They have black rigid fur and straight tail. Males have tusks that twist out of their mouths (female hogs have smaller tusks that don't stick out very much). Boars like to inhabit forests near streams or pools. Because they don't have sweat glands they have to wallow in mud to cool down. Wallowing also helps getting rid of fleas and other parasites.

Hogs are speedy runners and excellent swimmers. In autumn, they will eat woodland foods like acorns, pecans and hickory nuts. Throughout the rest of the year, hogs eat roots, fruits, grass, mushrooms, eggs, bugs, and even corpses of animals. If the food is plentiful, hogs will hang about in a 10-square mile area. They have really tough noses (snouts) that help them dig; they also have an outstanding sense of smell being able to sniff out underground food. Their eyesight is not as good, but they can hear extremely well.

These animals are typically nocturnal, foraging from dusk untill dawn but with periods of rest during both night and day. This is because hunters are most active throughout the day. They eat just about anything they come across, including nuts, berries, carrion, tubers, refuse, insects, small reptiles and even young deer.

Wild hogs live in groups called sounders. Sounders typically contain around 20 animals, but groups of over 50 have been seen. In a typical sounder there are two or three sows and their offspring; adult males are not part of the sounder outside the autumnal breeding season and are usually found alone. Birth, called farrowing, usually occurs in the spring; a litter will typically contain five piglets, but up to 13 have been born as well. The mother boar often builds a ground level nest out of small firewood and grass, or only by scratching together whatever vegetation is on the nearby ground. The babies live there for a week until they are strong enough to go after their mother around. The piglets are born with a light brown fur which has white stripes all the way from head to tail. Mother boars are known to be very dangerous when trying to protect their babies; fathers live on their own. After around 45 days, the piglets can find food by themselves, although they may still stay with their mother.

The difference between the wild and domestic animals is largely a matter of perception; both are usually described as Sus scrofa, and domestic pigs quite readily become feral. The characterization of populations as wild, feral or domestic and pig or boar is usually decided by where the animals are encountered and what is known of their history. In New Zealand for example, wild pigs are known as "Captain Cookers" from their supposed descent from liberations and gifts to Maori by explorer Captain James Cook in the 1770s. One characteristic by which domestic breed and wild animals are differentiated is coats. Wild boars almost always have thick, short bristly coats ranging in color from brown through grey to black. A prominent ridge of hair matching the spine is also common, giving rise to the name razorback in the southern United States. The tail is usually short and straight.

Wild hogs tend also to have longer legs than domestic breeds and a longer and narrower head and snout. European adult males can be up to 200 kg (sometimes up to 300 kg in certain areas, particularly Eastern Europe) and have both upper and lower tusks; females do not have tusks and are around a third smaller on average.