Although domestic pigs usually look quite different from wild boar, they are in fact the same species, and can readily interbreed. Wild boar live in groups called sounders, consisting of females and their young. The males live alone, but join sounders in the mating season, when they compete for access to females.
Male wild boar can be very aggressive. In Donana National Park in Spain, they have been known to chase adult lynxes away from carrion. Wild boars sometimes construct shelters from cut grass, and female wild boars are the only hoofed animals that give birth and look after their young inside a crude nest.
These animals have an excellent sense of smell, and are able to sniff out nutritious tubers and roots underground, while they snuffle through the leaf litter. Foraging wild boars often leave telltale signs, frequently ploughing up large patches of soil. In some countries, where wild boar have been introduced, they have had a negative impact on local animals and plants, either by feeding on them directly, or by disturbing their habitats.
Only male wild boar have tusks, which are extended upper and lower canine teeth. Piglets have striped patterns, which they lose as they get older.
The recent growth in wild boar farming in Britain has led to this species being reestablished in parts of the country, after their extinction in the 1600s. Escapees have proved adaptable, disappearing into suitable areas of countryside where there is cover available. A sow can be particularly aggressive in the spring, when she has piglets with her. Wild boar can also colonize new areas by swimming; they can travel up to 7 km (4 miles) in this way.
Distribution: Ranges across most of Europe, including southern Scandinavia, and much of the southern half of Asia, to Japan and Indonesia. Also occurs in North Africa.
Habitat: Forest and shrublands.
Weight: 45 - 320 kg (99 - 705 lb); boars are heavier.
Length: 105 -240 cm (41 - 94 in), including tail; up to 110 cm (43 in) tall.
Maturity: Around 18 months.
Gestation Period: 112-130 days; weaning occurs 3-4 months later.
Breeding: Usually 4-8, but can be up to 13.
Diet: Omnivorous, eating vegetation, fruit, roots and carrion.
Lifespan: Can be up to 21 years.
The coat is coarse, with a bristly texture, brownish in young animals, but becoming more grey with age.
Lower canines protrude beyond the lips, and are very sharp.
The legs are quite long and well-musded, helping these pigs to swim.
WALLOWING IN MUD
Wallowing is a popular activity, particularly in summer when the weather is hot, as it helps the wild boar to stay cool.