Common name: boar
- Body length: 90 - 180 cm plus a 30-40 cm long tail
- Height at the withers (1): 55 - 110 cm
- Weight: 50 - 350 kg
- Lifespan: 15 - 20 years
- Sexual maturity: 8-10 months
HABITAT AND GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION
The wild boar, scientific name Sus scrofa it is the most widespread genus of the Suidae family all over the world.
It is an artiodactyl native to Europe, south-central Asia, north Africa and the Malay archipelago, including a whole series of large and small islands. Today, however, the wild boar is found all over the world having been introduced as a domestic animal like the pig.
In the wild it prefers to live in the forests and woods rich in undergrowth where it loves to hide being shy of nature even if there are exceptions as for example in Russia it lives in the steppes. In any case, a characteristic of the place where he lives is that there is a source of water nearby because he loves squirting in the water and mud both to maintain a certain body temperature and to protect himself from sunburn and insect bites. Avoid areas where it snows in winter as a snowy ground represents a difficulty in searching for food.
CHARACTER, BEHAVIOR AND SOCIAL LIFEThe wild boar is a social animal that lives in small groups formed by a female with her young. Often several females with their cubs gather together to form groups larger than twenty individuals or even more (groups of as many as 100 individuals have been observed).
Males generally live alone and join female groups only during the breeding season, the time needed for mating.
They are not territorial even if they generally tend to always remain in a certain area, which extends for approximately one hundred hectares.
The care of the young is entrusted to the females who are willing to give their lives in order to defend them.
A very important aspect in the life of the wild boar is rolling in the mud (see video below) as this practice avoids sunburn, protects from insect bites and lowers the body temperature.
The wild boar leads a nocturnal life and preferably moves from dusk to dawn.
The boar is structured to be a fighter in fact both the thick skin, designed not to let the sharp fangs of its opponents penetrate, and the fangs, are excellent weapons against opponents.
The body is covered with a bristly fur formed by bristles of a color ranging from brown to gray.
It has sexual dimorphism: males are generally larger than females.
The legs are very muscular and short as its normal gait is the trot. Only if there is a real need the wild boar gallops quickly. Each leg is provided with a hoof practically formed by the third and fourth toes. The other toes, not very developed, rest on the ground only when walking on soft ground.
The lower canines have turned into fangs (much larger in the male than in the females) that protrude from the mouth while the upper canines sit behind the fangs. These are sharpened by rubbing them on each other making them particularly sharp.
It seems that the sense of sight is not very developed in wild boar while smell and taste are the most developed senses.
A characteristic of the wild boar is the snout which moves in a circular fashion when it eats.
They communicate through vocalizations represented by grunts and squeaks.
The wild boar is omnivorous par excellence even if 90% of its diet is based on vegetables: fruit, seeds, mushrooms, nuts, tubers, roots, bulbs. It finds food thanks to its mobile snout that ends in the nostrils. He spends time smelling the ground and when he finds something he likes, he starts digging with his snout itself as the nostrils can be closed to prevent foreign bodies from entering.
It does not disdain meat both in the form of carrion that it can find as a leftover of some other predator and by hunting small animals such as birds, rodents, reptiles, insects, crustaceans, molluscs and worms.
REPRODUCTION AND GROWTH OF THE SMALL
Generally in the temperate climate regions the females give birth to the young in spring while in the tropical climate regions the births take place all year round, even if more concentrated during the wet seasons. Female wild boar have a cycle of about 21 days and remain in heat for three days.
When the period of reproduction arrives and the females enter into heat, the males who normally lead a solitary life join a group and, after having hunted by fighting any other males present, mate with as many females as possible. The fights in this period between males are very violent.
The pregnancy lasts about 100-115 days at the end of which the female moves away from the group, looks for a quiet and safe place and after having prepared an adequate bed she gives birth to 4 to 8 puppies, sometimes even 12. These are suckled for 3 - 4 months in the den that they leave only in the short periods in which they follow the mother in search of food. The chicks for the first six months of life have a characteristic, striped coat that allows them to blend in better in the undergrowth.
At the age of 3-4 months the chicks are weaned and at that point the female rejoins the group together with the chicks and they become independent shortly before the mother's next litter (usually around seven months).
Females reach sexual maturity around 8-10 months of age but do not reproduce until they reach 18 months while males, although reaching sexual maturity more or less like females, do not mate until 5 years of age as sooner than that age they don't have the physique to compete with bigger males.
It should be noted that in general there is a mortality of 50% on young people because they are killed by other predators or by disease.
Excluding humans, the main predators of the wild boar are bears, big cats and even crocodiles. In any case, it is very common for the young to be hunted by a series of predators such as large snakes, birds of prey, wild cats.
We propose this video where adult wild boars are attacked by a cheetah .... see how it ends.
STATE OF THE POPULATION
The boar it is classified in the IUNC Red list among species at low risk of extinction LEAST CONCERN (LC).
Generally this species is abundant all over the world apart from the areas where intensive hunting by man is practiced (for example in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia).
SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND ECOSYSTEM IMPORTANCE
In areas where they are indigenous they are an excellent source of food for large animals while in areas where they have been introduced and have no natural enemies, they are a real calamity as they destroy native vegetation by digging for food and preying on fauna. local such as birds that nest on the ground. They are in fact considered one of the most destructive species known.
They are also a source of diseases for humans who can transmit diseases such as trichinosis, cysticercosis and brucellosis either directly with physical contact or by eating their insufficiently cooked meat.
On the other hand it must be said that in the world economy wild boar (like pigs more generally) represent an important food in the human diet as they produce nutritious meat, are prolific and with rapid growth cycles.
The wild boar is trained to search for truffles by exploiting its very sensitive sense of smell. In Egypt it is used to trample the seeds as its hooves create holes that have a size and a depth perfectly adequate to accommodate the seeds (this where the mechanization of crops is not present).
- Withers: region of the body of the quadrupeds which is located between the neck and the shoulder blades, considered the highest area of the back where the height is measured;
- image not subject to copyright: Courtesy Photo Credit NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).