Wild boar look similar to domestic swine, but have thick brown, black, or greyish coloured coats. They also have straight, long tails and a longer, narrower head, as well as longer legs. Piglets have characteristic colouring – lighter in colour with darker stripes along the back. Adults weigh 50 – 90 kg, but there have been confirmed weights of up to 200 kg!
Wild boar are extremely adaptable to their surroundings, but do seem to prefer dense brush cover and are often found in riparian areas. In the winter they rely on nests built of cattails, sometimes called “pigloos”, which they can hunker down in.
Wild boar are opportunistic omnivores – eating both plants and animals depending on what is available. This does tend towards mostly vegetation, particularly mast (reproductive parts of woody plants, such as nuts, rose hips, etc.), roots, and in the case of agricultural land, crops. The rooting behaviour employed by the animals to find underground resources can be quite extensive.
Wild boar are capable of producing two litters of 4 – 10 young per year – the highest reproductive rate among ungulates. Females can breed at as young as 6 – 8 months. Boar can breed in autumn as well as early spring.
Wild boar are elusive and intelligent animals, often adjusting their periods of activity to avoid disturbance, such as becoming nocturnal. They are highly mobile, and have few natural predators capable of taking them down. Behaviours include wallowing, which is done to cool the animal off and potentially act as insect repellent, involves digging out a depression and rolling in the mud or dirt. Wild boar are very social animals typically found in groups of at least two individuals, especially females. Mature males are more likely to be solitary, but social units of a sow and her litter are common. Larger social units are called “sounders” (several adults with piglets), and can contain up to three generations of related animals.
Oliver, W. and Leus, K. 2008. Sus scrofa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41775A10559847. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T41775A10559847.en
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food. 2001. Wild Boar Production. http://hartkeisonline.com/wp-content/uploads/WildBoarProduction0111.pdf