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Wild boar

Wild boar is a species of pig and part of the biological family Suidae. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig, an animal with which it freely hybridises.Wild boar are native across much of Northern and Central Europe, the Mediterranean Region and much of Asia as far south as Indonesia.

The body of the wild boar is compact; the head is large, the legs relatively short. The fur consists of stiff bristles and usually finer fur. The colour usually varies from dark grey to black or brown, but there are great regional differences in colour. During winter the fur is much denser.

Adult boars average 120–180 cm in length and have a shoulder height of 90 cm. As a whole, their average weight is 50–90 kg kilograms (110–200 pounds), though boars show a great deal of weight variation within their geographical ranges.  Carpathian boars have been recorded to reach weights of 200 kg (441 lb), while Romanian and Russian boars can reach weights of 300 kg (661 lb).

The continuously growing tusks (the canine teeth) serve as weapons and tools. The lower tusks of an adult male measure about 20 cm (7.9 in) (from which seldom more than 10 cm (3.9 in) protrude out of the mouth), in exceptional cases even 30 cm (12 in). The upper tusks are bent upwards in males, and are regularly ground against the lower ones to produce sharp edges. In females they are smaller, and the upper tusks are only slightly bent upwards in older individuals.

Wild boar piglets are coloured differently from adults, being a soft brown with longitudinal darker stripes. The stripes fade by the time the piglet is about half-grown, when the animal takes on the adult's grizzled grey or brown colour.

Adult males are usually solitary outside of the breeding season, but females and their offspring (both sub-adult males and females) live in groups called sounders. Sounders typically number around 20 animals, although groups of over 50 have been seen, and will consist of 2 to 3 sows; one of which will be the dominant female. Group structure changes with the coming and going of farrowing females, the migration of maturing males (usually when they reach around 4 years old) and the arrival of unrelated sexually active males.

Wild boar are usually crepuscular, foraging from dusk until dawn but with resting periods during both night and day. They eat almost anything they come across, including grass, nuts, berries, carrion, roots, tubers, refuse, insects, small reptiles. Wild boar are also known to predate on young deer and lambs.

Boars are the only hoofed animals known to dig burrows.

If surprised or cornered, a boar (and particularly a sow with her piglets) can and will defend itself and its young with intense vigor. The male lowers its head, charges, and then slashes upward with his tusks. The female, whose tusks are not visible, charges with her head up, mouth wide, and bites. Such attacks are not often fatal to humans, but may result in severe trauma, dismemberment, or blood loss.

Sexual activity and testosterone production in males is triggered by decreasing day length, reaching a peak in mid-autumn. The normally solitary males then move into female groups and rival males fight for dominance, whereupon the largest and most dominant males achieve the most matings.

The age of puberty for sows ranges from 8 to 24 months of age depending on environmental and nutritional factors. Pregnancy lasts approximately 115 days and a sow will leave the group to construct a mound-like nest, 1–3 days before giving birth (farrowing).

The process of giving birth to a litter lasts between 2–3 hours and the sow and piglets remain in, or close to the nest for 4–6 days. Sows rejoin the group after 4–5 days and the piglets will cross suckle between other lactating sows.

Litter size is typically 4-6 piglets but may be smaller for first litter, usually 2-3. The sex ratio at birth is 1:1. Piglets weigh between 750g - 1000g at birth. Rooting behaviour develops in piglets as early as the first few days of life and piglets are fully weaned after 3–4 months. They will begin to eat solid foods such as worms and grubs after about 2 weeks