Wild Boar Fact File
Credit: Public Domain
Wild 10 years
Captive 10 years
Leaves, Fungi, Eggs
The wild boar is the ancestor of the domestic pig. They were originally restricted to Europe, Asia and Africa but have since spread to every continent except for Antarctica.
These animals are omnivores and their wide ranging diet includes plant matter, nuts, small animals and carrion.
Females live in groups which are known as sounders. Males move in to these briefly during the breeding season to mate and then return to their solitary lifestyle.
They are considered common and humans have allowed them to expand their range globally. In some regions they may still be hunted and are victims of habitat destruction.
Read on to learn more about these magnificent mammals.
What does the wild boar look like?
Across the body of the wild boar is a coat of thick, coarse hair. On the back they have longer bristles which are raised when the species is threatened.
Male wild boars are distinguished from females by the presence of tusks. These are extended upper and lower canine teeth.
At the end of their body is a tail which adds up to 30cm (12in) to their length. This ends with a tuft of fur.
An average wild boar will measure between 0.9 and 1.8m (3-6ft) long with their weight being highly variable from 40-350kg (88-770lbs). At the shoulder they stand up to 80cm (31.5in) tall.
Females tend to be smaller than males.
What does the wild boar eat?
These animals have a strong sense of smell to help find their food.
Credit: Public Domain
Where can you find the wild boar?
The original range of the wild boar covers parts of Europe, Asia and Africa. Humans have assisted them to spread to every continent except for Antarctica.
Their native range covers the following countries – Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Cambodia; China; Croatia; Cyprus; Czechia; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hong Kong; Hungary; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Republic of Korea; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Latvia; Lebanon; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malaysia; Moldova; Monaco; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Myanmar; Nepal; Netherlands; North Macedonia; Pakistan; Palestine, State of; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russia; San Marino; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sri Lanka; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tajikistan; Thailand; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan and Viet Nam.
The species is considered extinct in Egypt, Ireland, Libya and Norway. They went extinct in Sweden and the United Kingdom but have been reintroduced in these countries.
The reintroduction in to the United Kingdom was the result of escapes from captive populations rather than a managed program.
These animals have been introduced to a number of countries, in many cases they are from domestic populations. They now occur in the following countries – Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Colombia; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Fiji; Haiti; Italy; Jamaica; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; South Africa; Sudan; United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What kind of environment does the wild boar live in?
These animals are found in a wide range of habitats including forest, savanna, shrubland, grasslands, wetlands and desert.
The wild boar will move in to agricultural land where they live alongside humans to forage.
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How does the wild boar produce its young?
During breeding season the male will develop a thick coating of tissue which serves to protect them from injuries during fights. They will slash at each others shoulders.
Females will give birth to between 1 and 12 young in a single litter each year. At birth the young are covered with pale brown fur which is patterned with lighter colored stripes. This helps to camouflage the young during their most vulnerable stage of life.
Females form a crude nest in to which they will deposit the young. Young remain in this nest for 1-2 weeks. They will then start to venture with their mother from the nest until 7 months of age when they become independent.
The female young will remain in their mother’s sounder (group) while males will leave by two years old.
Sexual maturity is reached between 8 and 10 months old.
Wild boars are the same species as the domestic pig and they can interbreed.
What does the wild boar do with its day?
A group of wild boar is known as a sounder. It consists of a female and her current litter of young. The males will briefly join these groups during the mating season to gain mating rights with the female.
An average group will include 6-20 individuals but groups of up to 100 have been recorded.
Credit: Cephas, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Predators and Threats
What is impacting the survival of the wild boar?
Natural predators of this species include bears, cats such as leopards and tigers and wolves.
The wild boar is considered abundant in its range. In areas where they are hunted in high amounts they will suffer population depressions.
These animals are affected by diseases such as the African swine fever in parts of eastern Europe.
No major threats to this species are recognized. In localized populations they may be affected by habitat destruction and hunting. Hunting takes place for food, sport and as a reprisal due to their effect on crops.
In some cropping areas they have been able to increase their population due to the presence of cultivated goods they can feed on.
These animals are also known as the Eurasian wild pig. In North America they are called the ‘razorback’ due to their long hair on the back which can be raised when they are threatened.
The thick hairs on their neck were used in toothbrushes before synthetic materials were developed to help deal with this.
Wild boars are the ancestors of most domestic pigs.
Credit: Jerzystrzelecki, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Keuling, O. & Leus, K. 2019. Sus scrofa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T41775A44141833. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T41775A44141833.en. Downloaded on 27 October 2021.
Baker, N., 2021. Eurasian Wild Pig – Sus scrofa. [online] Ecologyasia.com. Available at: <https://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/mammals/wild_pig.htm> [Accessed 27 October 2021].
Trust, W., 2021. [online] Woodland Trust. Available at: <https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/animals/mammals/wild-boar/> [Accessed 27 October 2021].
The Mammal Society. 2021. Species – Wild boar – The Mammal Society. [online] Available at: <https://www.mammal.org.uk/species-hub/full-species-hub/discover-mammals/species-wild-boar/> [Accessed 27 October 2021].
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