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Overview

Brief Summary

New York State Invasive Species Information

Feral swine, also known as feral pigs or wild boars, is a designation that can be applied to introduced Eurasian boars, escaped or released domestic pigs, and cross-breeds of the two. Eurasian boars were introduced to North America as early as 1539 as domestic pigs; additional introductions of other wild Eurasian boar races for hunting occurred through the1800’s and 1900’s. New York populations of feral swine have most likely emerged from escaped and abandoned Eurasian boars kept in captivity and at hunting preserves. Feral swine crossbreed readily with domestic pigs, which has resulted in a wide range of coat colors and body shapes. Many look like typical wild boars, while others may be hard to distinguish from domestic pigs. Known breeding populations of feral swine in NY (2011) include northwest Cortland, southwest Onondaga, and southern Tioga counties. Pennsylvania also has well established populations in 18 or more counties. Swine may be seen in several Southern Tier border counties with Pennsylvania. Feral hogs have also been observed in a few upstate counties associated with hunting preserves.

Biology

Feral pigs can breed at any time with a gestation of 115 days. A female is sexually mature at 1 year of age. Litter sizes range from 1-8 piglets; sows aggressively protect their young. Due to their hardiness and ability to adapt to a wide range of weather conditions and food sources, feral swine can triple their population in a year. Sows average 110 pounds and boars 130 pounds, but can reach up to 400 pounds. They can be spotted, belted, or striped, entirely brown or domestic looking. Their razor sharp tusks can be 5 inches long before breaking or wearing down. Swine use their tusks to defend themselves and to establish dominance. In NY, the adults have few predators to control herd size.

Impacts Feral swine (Sus scrofa) have a list of environmental, agricultural and human impacts including:

  • Tearing up farm and forest land as they root and wallow, destroying acres of agricultural land and crops in just a few days.
  • Carrying diseases transmittable to domestic pigs and humans, including swine brucellosis, pseudo-rabies, trichinosis and leptospirosis.
  • Competing with wildlife for food.
  • Fouling water supplies.
  • Feeding on fawns, ground nesting birds and reptiles, and even young livestock.
  • Destroying wildlife habitat and sensitive natural areas
  • Contributing to erosion and water quality issues.
  • Serving as a highway hazard; swine eyes do not reflect in light at night.
  • Displaying aggressiveness toward humans with the potential to cause harm.

Signs of Feral Swine

Feral swine are nocturnal; rooting and wallowing in fields and forests, eating crops and hunting. They can decimate acres of fields and gardens every night. Their rooting furrows, 2 to 8” deep, leave a “plowed” look to the landscape. Their tracks and impressions of their coarse hair can be seen at wallowing holes, creeks and mud holes. After wallowing, which can destroy habitat, they often rub the mud onto nearby trees. Swine tracks are similar to deer tracks, but more rounded. Swine scat can resemble deer, dog and human scat.

Management

In New York, anyone with a small game license may hunt and keep feral swine year round with no limit. To prevent the spread of disease, wear plastic or rubber gloves while dressing the animal, and bury the offal. Do not feed raw meats or organs to pets or livestock and thoroughly cook the meat before consuming. Feral swine may be excluded from gardens and domestic hog pens with very heavy duty fencing, but since they can burrow, fencing should be monitored. Domestic swine should be securely enclosed. Shooting can be used to remove one or two feral hogs, but trapping is recommended for removing family groups. Specially-designed corral traps with heavy metal fencing and mechanical doors are needed to capture free-ranging swine.

Reporting

If you see, shoot, or trap feral swine please report it to your regional NYS DEC Wildlife office http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html. It is important that natural resource managers know where the swine are. Feral swine are a threat to New York’s landscape and agriculture. They can cause an immense amount of damage in a short period of time and can transmit disease. Please do not intentionally release swine into the wild for hunting and keep an eye out for escaped domestic pigs. Eradication of feral swine is important.

  • Curtis, Paul, Associate Professor, Extension Wildlife Specialist, Cornell University. E-mail conversation. August 6, 2011.
  • Perry, Adam. Wildlife Biologist, New York State Department of Conservation. Phone and e-mail conversation. August 3 and 4, 2011
  • USDA. 2010. 2010 Status of Feral Swine in New York State. USDA, APHIS-Wildlife Services, Castleton, NY. 19pp.
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Around half of the 18 or so species in the pig family (Suidae) are in the genus Sus. By far the best known and widely distributed pig is the Eurasian Wild Pig or Wild Boar (Sus scrofa). Indeed, this species has one of the largest geographic ranges of any mammal. The enormous geographic variation in appearance--amplified by the intentional and accidental release of wild, domesticated, and hybrid forms across various parts of the range--led to the description of a large number of putative species and subspecies now widely viewed as invalid (although new data and analysis may yet result in the revival of some of these names).   

Before human intervention, this species was present from the British Isles in the extreme west through Eurasia from southern Scandinavia to southern Siberia and extending as far east as Korea and Japan and southeast to some of the Sunda Islands and Taiwan. To the south, this species ranged along the Nile valley to Khartoum and north of the Sahara in Africa and roughly followed the continental coasts of south, east, and southeast Asia. Within this range, it was absent only from extremely dry deserts, such as the driest regions of Mongolia, and alpine zones such as the high altitudes of the Pamir Mountains.

In recent centuries, humans have had a dramatic impact on the distribution of  the Eurasian Wild Pig through hunting and habitat modification. The Eurasian Wild Pig disappeared from the British Isles in the 17th century and from Denmark in the 19th century and during the 20th century its numbers and distribution declined over much of its range in locations as far-flung as Tunisia, Sudan, Germany, and Russia.  In the mid-20th century, there were moderate population recoveries following these severe declines in Russia, Italy, Spain, and Germany and both natural and assisted range expansions in Denmark and Sweden. The species has also been accidentally reintroduced to Great Britain via escapes of mixed-origin pigs from commercial farming operations. Introduced feral populations derived from this species are serious pests causing severe ecological disruption in many parts of the world including Australia, New Zealand, the eastern Malay Archipelago, North America, Central America, and South America, among others.

The Eurasian Wild Pig is ecologically flexible and may be found in habitats ranging from closed natural and planted forests to open scrublands with some cover. In Europe, they are found in agricultural landscapes as well as riverine and mountainous forests, reaching especially high densities in oak-dominated forests. In Southeast Asia, this species may be found in mature forests, secondary forests, gardens, and plantations. It can reach very high densities in dipterocarp forests during periods of mast-fruiting. Although these wild pigs generally avoid open agricultural fields, when crops are taller they may enter fields and cause considerable damage.

The diet of the Eurasian Wild Pig is extremely varied and can even include young deer and lambs. The pigs themselves may be preyed upon by Gray Wolves, Dholes, Tigers, Leopards, Eurasian Lynxes, and large reptiles such as crocodiles and pythons.

The gestation period is around 112 to 130 days. Litter size is typically between five and nine young, each piglet weighing 750 to 1000 g at birth. The piglets begin to eat solid food, such as worms and grubs, at about 2 weeks and are weaned at 3 to 4 months. Eurasian Wild Pigs may live over 20 years in the wild. Adults are dangerous when they feel threatened. A male will lower its head, charge, and slash upward with his tusks; a female, whose tusks are not visible, will charge with her head up, mouth open, and bite. Eurasian Wild Pigs tend to be most active between dusk and dawn.

Although this species is secure globally, many local populations are vulnerable due to hunting pressure as well as hybridization with domestic and feral pigs.

There are an estimated 2 billion domesticated pigs on our planet, which are derived mainly from Eurasian Wild Pigs and Sulawesi Warty Pigs (Sus celebensis). There is evidence that local pigs were domesticated independently in Europe, Asia Minor, the Far East (including Japan), and various parts of Southeast Asia. The earliest evidence of domestication dates back more than 10,000 years.

(Meijaard et al. 2011 and references therein)

  • Meijaard, E., J.P. d'Huart, and W.L.R. Oliver. 2011. Family Suidae (Pigs). Pp. 248-291 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
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Comprehensive Description

Miscellaneous Details

"According to Blanford (1888) """"The tame pig of India is doubtless derived from the wild animal and probably breeds with the latter in places. I have more than once seen a litter of tame young pigs striped ; and as this peculiarity is wanting in tame animals generally, such litters may have been the produce of tame sows by wild boars."""""
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Summary

"The Wild boar, also known as wild pig, is widely distributed across the world. While the adult males are solitary outside the breeding season, the females and offspring live in groups called sounders. They are the main food source for tigers in regions where they coexist."
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Distribution

Of all members of the pig family, Sus scrofa occupies the largest range. They originally occurred in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and the Malay Archipelago. Included in this native range were a number of island populations, including the British Isles, Corsica, Sardinia, Japan, Sri Lanka, the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, Hainan, Sumatra, Java, and smaller islands of the East Indies. Sus scrofa was later introduced throughout the world as domesticated animals by humans. Currently, Sus scrofa can be found nearly everywhere, from homes to barns to boggy marshes and mountainous terrain.

(Hopf, 1979; Storer, 1992)

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Introduced ); palearctic (Native ); oriental (Introduced , Native ); ethiopian (Introduced ); neotropical (Introduced ); australian (Introduced ); oceanic islands (Introduced )

Other Geographic Terms: cosmopolitan

  • Nowak, R. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World, Fifth Edition. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
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Range Description

The Eurasian wild pig has one of the widest geographic distributions of all terrestrial mammals, and this range has been greatly expanded by human agency. The species now occurs in pure wild or barely modified feral form on all continents excepting Antarctica, and on many oceanic islands. It is the ancestor of most (but not all) ancient and modern domestic pig breeds, and there is evidence to suggest that it was independently domesticated in several different parts of its range, including Southeast Asia, the Far East and Asia Minor. As a wild form, it has constituted a primary resource of subsistence hunters since the earliest times, and it is one of the most important targets for recreational hunting wherever it remains sufficiently abundant. Over-hunting and changes in land use have resulted in the fragmentation of its range and its extermination throughout the British Isles, Scandinavia, parts of North Africa, and relatively extensive parts of its range in the former Soviet Union. and northern Japan. Nevertheless, the species remains widely distributed and is often locally abundant. As a result of its depredations on crops it is regarded as a pest in many countries, where it remains unprotected outside designated wildlife reserves or is managed as a game animal.

S. scrofa has by far the largest range of all pigs. It occurs throughout the steppe and broadleaved forest regions of the Palaearctic, from western Europe to the Russian Far East, extending southwards as far North Africa, the Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East, through India, Indo-China, Japan (including the Ryukyu Chain), Taiwan and the Greater Sunda Islands of South-east Asia. Populations east of Bali are probably all introduced. It has been extinct in the British Isles since sometime in the 17th century, despite attempted introductions of new stock from Europe (Harting, 1880) (though see below for more recent information). It is also extinct in southern Scandinavia (but see below), over extensive portions of its recent range in west-central and eastern parts of the former Soviet Union (Heptner et al., 1961), and in northern Japan (Chiba, 1964, 1975). The species was last reported in Libya in the 1880s, and it became extinct in Egypt in about 1902 (Hufnagl, 1972).

Groves and Grubb (1993) distinguished four 'subspecies groupings', based on both geographic and morphological criteria, as follows:

1. 'Western races' of Europe (scrofa and meridionalis), North Africa (algira) and the Middle East (lybicus), extending at least as far east as Soviet Central Asia (attila and nigripes);

2. 'Indian races' of the sub-Himalayan region from Iran in the west (davidi) to north India and adjacent countries as far east as Myanmar and west Thailand (cristatus), and south India and Sri Lanka (affinis and subsp. nov.);

3. 'Eastern races' of Mongolia and the Soviet Far East (sibiricus and ussuricus), Japan (leucomystax and riukiuanus), Taiwan (taivanus), to south-east China and Viet Nam (moupinensis); and

4. 'Indonesian race' (or banded pig) from the Malay Peninsular, Sumatra, Java, Bali and certain offshore islands (vittatus).

In Europe, it is widespread in most continental areas, with the exception of northern Fennoscandia and European Russia. As mentioined above, it disappeared from the British Isles and Scandinavia in the 17th century, although it has now been reintroduced to Sweden and escaped animals have established themselves in the wild in Britain (Spitz 1999). Animals have escaped from captivity in the UK and have established themselves in the wild. There are at least three small wild populations in England, on the Kent/East Sussex border, in Dorset, and in Hereford (Battersby 2005). It is native to Corsica and Sardinia, but the population in Sicily was introduced (Spitz 1999).

Introduced populations are not included in the distribution map.
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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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Global Range: Eurasian-N. African species. Escaped or introduced in U.S. Many populations deliberately extirminated but still extant in parts of the southeastern U.S., U.S. West Coast, Hawaii (Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui, Hawaii), Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and elsewhere (Wood and Barret 1979).

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Feral Pigs occur within all US Gulf states, including Florida (Whitaker 1988). Feral Pigs occur in terrestrial habitats of all six counties within the India River Lagoon watershed. In fact, they occur in all 67 Florida counties (Belden 1993).
  • Arrington D., Toth, L., and J. Koebel Jr. 1999. Effects of rooting by feral hogs, Sus scrofa L. on the structure of a flood plain vegetation assemblage. Wetlands 19:535-544.
  • Baber D.W. and B.E. Coblentz. 1987. Diet, Nutrition, and Conception In Feral Pigs On Santa Catalina Island. Journal Of Wildlife Management 51:306-317.
  • Baber D.W., and B.E. Coblentz. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • Belden R.C. 1993. Feral Hogs: The Florida Experience. Paper in Feral Swine: A Compendium For Resource Managers (Hanselka C.W. and J.F. Cadenhead, Eds.), Proceedings of a March 24-25, 1993 Kerrville, TX Conference.
  • Belden R.C., and M.R. Pelton. 1975. European wild hog rooting in the mountains of east Tennessee. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 29:665-671.
  • Bratton S.P., M.E. Harmon, and P.S. White. 1982. Patterns Of European Wild Boar Rooting In The Western Great Smokey Mountains. Castanea 47:230-242.
  • Coblentz B.E. and D.W. Baber. 1987. Biology and control of feral pigs on Isla Santiago, Galapagos, Ecuador. Journal of Applied Ecology. 24:403-418.
  • Diong C.H. 1982. Population biology and management of the feral pig (Sus scrofa L.) in Kipahulu Valley, Mauil. Unpublished dissertation.
  • Fenner F.J.. Gibbs E.PJ., Murphy F.A., Rott R., M.J. Studdert, and D.O. White (eds.). 1993 Veterinary Virology (2nd ed.). Academic Press, Inc.
  • Ford M. and J. Grace. 1998. Effects of vertebrate herbivores on soil processes, plant biomass, litter accumulation and soil elevation changes in a coastal marsh. J. of Ecol. 86:974-982.
  • Frederick J. 1998. Overview of Wild Pig Damage in California. Vertebrate Pest Conference 18:82-86.
  • Gauss C.I., Dubey J.P., Vidal D., Ruiz F., Vicente J., Marco I., Lavin S., Gortazar C., and S. Almeria. 2005. Seroprevalence Of Toxoplasma Gondii In: Wild Pigs (Sus Scrofa) From Spain. Veterinary Parasitology 131:151-156.
  • Gingerich J.L. 1994. Florida's Fabulous Mammals. World Publications. Tampa Bay. 128 p.
  • Green D.F., and F. Ortiz. 1982. Status of sea turtle populations in the central eastern Pacific. In K. Bjornadal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles, pp. 221-233, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Hampton J.O., Spencer P.B.S., Alpers D.L., Twigg L.E, Woolnough A.P., Doust J., Higgs T. and J. Pluske. 2004. Molecular techniques, wildlife management and the importance of genetic population structure and dispersal: a case study with feral pigs. Journal of Applied Ecology 41:735-743.
  • Ickes K., Paciorek C.J., and S.C. Thomas. 2005. Impacts of Nest Construction by Native Pigs (Sus scrofa) on Lowland Malaysian Rain Forest Saplings. Ecology 86:1540-1547.
  • Ingles L.G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press. Stanford. 506 p.
  • Johnson K.G., R.W. Duncan, and M.R. Pelton. 1982. Reproductive Biology Of European Wild Hogs In The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Proceedings Of The Annual Conference Of The Southeastern Fish And Wildlife Agencies 36:552-564.
  • Kotanen P.M. 1995. Responses of vegetation to a changing regime of disturbance: effects of feral pigs in a Californian coastal prairie. Ecography 18:190-199.
  • Laycock G. 1984. Hogs In The Hills. Audubon 86:32-35.Lowery G.H., Jr. 1974. The Mammals of Louisiana and its Adjacent Waters. Louisiana State University Press. 565 p.
  • MacFarland C.G., Villa, J., and B. Toro. 1974. The Galapagos giant tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) Part I: Status of Surviving Populations. Biological Conservation 6:198-212.
  • Meads M.J., Walker K.J., and G.P. Elliott. 1984. Status, Conservation, and Management of the Land Snails of the genus Powelliphanta (Mollusca: Pulmonata). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 11:277-306.
  • Nowak R.M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 1629 p.
  • Peine J. and J. Farmer. 1990. Wild hog management program at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Vertebrate Pest Conference 14:221-227.
  • Sekhar N.U. 1998. Crop and Livestock Depradation caused By Wild Animals in Protect Areas: the Case of Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. Environmental Conservation 25:160-171.
  • Singer F.J., W.T. Swank, and E.E.C. Clebsch. 1984. Effects Of Wild Pig Rooting In A Deciduous Forest. Journal Of Wildlife Management 48:464-473.
  • Tisdell C.A.. 1982. Wild pigs: environmental pest or economic resource? Pergamon Press. Sydney, Australia. 445 p.
  • Tolleson D., Pinchak W., Rollins D., and L. Hunt. 1995. Feral hogs in the rollings plains of Texas: Perspectives, problems, and potential. Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Conference 12:124-128.
  • Van Vuren D. 1984. Diurnal Activity and Habitat Use by feral Pigs on Santa Cruz Island, California. California Fish and game 70:140-144.
  • Whitaker J.O., Jr. 1988. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 745 p.
  • Wolf T. and M.R. Conover. 2003. Feral Pigs and the Environment: An Annotated Bibliography. Jack H. Berryman Institute. 56 p.
  • Wood G.W. and D.N. Roark. 1980. Food habits of feral hogs in coastal South Carolina. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:506-511.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Wild boars are covered in a scant coat of coarse, bristle-like hairs ranging from dark gray to brown. Head and body length ranges from 900 to 1800 mm, tail length is about 300 mm, and shoulder height is 550 to 1100 mm. Weight averages 50 to 350 kg, though some domestic breeds can attain weights of 450 kg. Males are generally larger than females. Wild boar have four continually growing tusks, one in each quadrant of the jaw. Females have 6 pairs of mammae.

Over the course of domestication Sus scrofa has developed varying skin colors, tail lengths, and snout shapes. Sus scrofa has varying ear shapes, ranging from small and erect to low-flapping. Sus scrofa is thought to represent the primitive condition of ungulates in that they have a comparatively simple digestive system.

(Hopf, 1979; vanLoon, 1979)

Range mass: 50 to 350 kg.

Range length: 900 to 1800 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

Average basal metabolic rate: 104.15 W.

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"A crest of lengthened black bristles from the nape along the back. Hair coarse and bristly throughout, thin on the sides, and still thinner below. No woolly underfur. Tail extending nearly to hocks, scantily haired except at the tip, which is compressed and fringed on each side. Ears thinly clad externally, more thickly within. The last lower molar always, and the last upper molar generally, longer than the two preceding molars together. Mammae 6 pairs. Colour. Black, more or less mixed with rusty brown or whitish ; young animals browner, old animals greyish. The young, when just born, are light fulvous brown, with longitudinal stripes of dark brown."
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Size

Length: 182 cm

Weight: 150000 grams

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"Adult animals measure about 5 feet from nose to vent; tail 8 to 11.5 in., with hair a foot or more; ear 5.5 in. Height 2S to 36 inches at the shoulder . Males are larger than females. Weight of adults from about 200 to considerably over 300 lb. (4 maunds). The lower tusks in a large hog are said to have measured 12 inches in length, including the portion embedded in the jaw, but they rarely exceed 9."
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Nowak (1991) reports that domestic hogs can reach 450 kg, and their feral counterparts are on the same order.
  • Arrington D., Toth, L., and J. Koebel Jr. 1999. Effects of rooting by feral hogs, Sus scrofa L. on the structure of a flood plain vegetation assemblage. Wetlands 19:535-544.
  • Baber D.W. and B.E. Coblentz. 1987. Diet, Nutrition, and Conception In Feral Pigs On Santa Catalina Island. Journal Of Wildlife Management 51:306-317.
  • Baber D.W., and B.E. Coblentz. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • Belden R.C. 1993. Feral Hogs: The Florida Experience. Paper in Feral Swine: A Compendium For Resource Managers (Hanselka C.W. and J.F. Cadenhead, Eds.), Proceedings of a March 24-25, 1993 Kerrville, TX Conference.
  • Belden R.C., and M.R. Pelton. 1975. European wild hog rooting in the mountains of east Tennessee. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 29:665-671.
  • Bratton S.P., M.E. Harmon, and P.S. White. 1982. Patterns Of European Wild Boar Rooting In The Western Great Smokey Mountains. Castanea 47:230-242.
  • Coblentz B.E. and D.W. Baber. 1987. Biology and control of feral pigs on Isla Santiago, Galapagos, Ecuador. Journal of Applied Ecology. 24:403-418.
  • Diong C.H. 1982. Population biology and management of the feral pig (Sus scrofa L.) in Kipahulu Valley, Mauil. Unpublished dissertation.
  • Fenner F.J.. Gibbs E.PJ., Murphy F.A., Rott R., M.J. Studdert, and D.O. White (eds.). 1993 Veterinary Virology (2nd ed.). Academic Press, Inc.
  • Ford M. and J. Grace. 1998. Effects of vertebrate herbivores on soil processes, plant biomass, litter accumulation and soil elevation changes in a coastal marsh. J. of Ecol. 86:974-982.
  • Frederick J. 1998. Overview of Wild Pig Damage in California. Vertebrate Pest Conference 18:82-86.
  • Gauss C.I., Dubey J.P., Vidal D., Ruiz F., Vicente J., Marco I., Lavin S., Gortazar C., and S. Almeria. 2005. Seroprevalence Of Toxoplasma Gondii In: Wild Pigs (Sus Scrofa) From Spain. Veterinary Parasitology 131:151-156.
  • Gingerich J.L. 1994. Florida's Fabulous Mammals. World Publications. Tampa Bay. 128 p.
  • Green D.F., and F. Ortiz. 1982. Status of sea turtle populations in the central eastern Pacific. In K. Bjornadal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles, pp. 221-233, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Hampton J.O., Spencer P.B.S., Alpers D.L., Twigg L.E, Woolnough A.P., Doust J., Higgs T. and J. Pluske. 2004. Molecular techniques, wildlife management and the importance of genetic population structure and dispersal: a case study with feral pigs. Journal of Applied Ecology 41:735-743.
  • Ickes K., Paciorek C.J., and S.C. Thomas. 2005. Impacts of Nest Construction by Native Pigs (Sus scrofa) on Lowland Malaysian Rain Forest Saplings. Ecology 86:1540-1547.
  • Ingles L.G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press. Stanford. 506 p.
  • Johnson K.G., R.W. Duncan, and M.R. Pelton. 1982. Reproductive Biology Of European Wild Hogs In The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Proceedings Of The Annual Conference Of The Southeastern Fish And Wildlife Agencies 36:552-564.
  • Kotanen P.M. 1995. Responses of vegetation to a changing regime of disturbance: effects of feral pigs in a Californian coastal prairie. Ecography 18:190-199.
  • Laycock G. 1984. Hogs In The Hills. Audubon 86:32-35.Lowery G.H., Jr. 1974. The Mammals of Louisiana and its Adjacent Waters. Louisiana State University Press. 565 p.
  • MacFarland C.G., Villa, J., and B. Toro. 1974. The Galapagos giant tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) Part I: Status of Surviving Populations. Biological Conservation 6:198-212.
  • Meads M.J., Walker K.J., and G.P. Elliott. 1984. Status, Conservation, and Management of the Land Snails of the genus Powelliphanta (Mollusca: Pulmonata). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 11:277-306.
  • Nowak R.M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 1629 p.
  • Peine J. and J. Farmer. 1990. Wild hog management program at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Vertebrate Pest Conference 14:221-227.
  • Sekhar N.U. 1998. Crop and Livestock Depradation caused By Wild Animals in Protect Areas: the Case of Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. Environmental Conservation 25:160-171.
  • Singer F.J., W.T. Swank, and E.E.C. Clebsch. 1984. Effects Of Wild Pig Rooting In A Deciduous Forest. Journal Of Wildlife Management 48:464-473.
  • Tisdell C.A.. 1982. Wild pigs: environmental pest or economic resource? Pergamon Press. Sydney, Australia. 445 p.
  • Tolleson D., Pinchak W., Rollins D., and L. Hunt. 1995. Feral hogs in the rollings plains of Texas: Perspectives, problems, and potential. Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Conference 12:124-128.
  • Van Vuren D. 1984. Diurnal Activity and Habitat Use by feral Pigs on Santa Cruz Island, California. California Fish and game 70:140-144.
  • Whitaker J.O., Jr. 1988. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 745 p.
  • Wolf T. and M.R. Conover. 2003. Feral Pigs and the Environment: An Annotated Bibliography. Jack H. Berryman Institute. 56 p.
  • Wood G.W. and D.N. Roark. 1980. Food habits of feral hogs in coastal South Carolina. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:506-511.
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Type Information

Type for Sus scrofa
Catalog Number: USNM 123918
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1903
Locality: Pulo Terutau, Satun, Thailand, Asia
  • Type: Miller, G. S. 1906 Jun 13. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 30: 746.
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Type for Sus scrofa
Catalog Number: USNM 114415
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female;
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1902
Locality: Banjak Islands, Pulau Tuangku, Sumatra, Aceh, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Lyon, M. W. 1916 Dec 30. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 52: 453.
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Type for Sus scrofa
Catalog Number: USNM 104856
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female;
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1900
Locality: Natuna Besar Islands, Pulo Laut, Kepulauan Riau, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Miller, G. S. 1901 Mar 26. Proceedings of the Washington Academy of Sciences. 3: 117.
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Type for Sus scrofa
Catalog Number: USNM 122928
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1903
Locality: Rhio Archipelago (=Riau Archipelago), Pulo Ungar, Sumatra, Kepulauan Riau, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Miller, G. S. 1906 Jun 13. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 30: 749.
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Type for Sus scrofa
Catalog Number: USNM 114283
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1902
Locality: Pulau Babi, Banjak Islands, Between Simalur And Pulau Bangkaru, Sumatra, Aceh, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Miller, G. S. 1906 Jun 13. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 30: 752.
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Type for Sus scrofa
Catalog Number: USNM 142470
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female;
Preparation: Skull
Collector(s): C. Kloss
Year Collected: 1905
Locality: Hunong Pulai, Near Foot, Johor, Malaysia, Asia
  • Type: Miller, G. S. 1906 Jun 13. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 30: 749.
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Type for Sus scrofa
Catalog Number: USNM 83518
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Skin; Skull; Skeleton
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1896
Locality: Old Country: Siam, Trang, Thailand, Asia
  • Type: Miller, G. S. 1906 Jun 13. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 30: 745.
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Type for Sus scrofa
Catalog Number: USNM 140959
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female;
Preparation: Skull
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1904
Locality: Engano Island, Sumatra, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Lyon, M. W. 1916 Dec 30. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 52: 454.
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Type for Sus scrofa
Catalog Number: USNM 111794
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1901
Locality: Great Nicobar Island, Ganges Harbor, Nicobar Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Is, Asia
  • Type: Miller, G. S. 1902 May 28. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 24: 755.
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Look Alikes

The only wild pig native to North America is the collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu). In the US, this species is restricted to desert and thorn scrub habitats of Arizona, New Mexico, and south Texas. Elsewhere in the United States, the feral pig should be unmistakable.
  • Arrington D., Toth, L., and J. Koebel Jr. 1999. Effects of rooting by feral hogs, Sus scrofa L. on the structure of a flood plain vegetation assemblage. Wetlands 19:535-544.
  • Baber D.W. and B.E. Coblentz. 1987. Diet, Nutrition, and Conception In Feral Pigs On Santa Catalina Island. Journal Of Wildlife Management 51:306-317.
  • Baber D.W., and B.E. Coblentz. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • Belden R.C. 1993. Feral Hogs: The Florida Experience. Paper in Feral Swine: A Compendium For Resource Managers (Hanselka C.W. and J.F. Cadenhead, Eds.), Proceedings of a March 24-25, 1993 Kerrville, TX Conference.
  • Belden R.C., and M.R. Pelton. 1975. European wild hog rooting in the mountains of east Tennessee. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 29:665-671.
  • Bratton S.P., M.E. Harmon, and P.S. White. 1982. Patterns Of European Wild Boar Rooting In The Western Great Smokey Mountains. Castanea 47:230-242.
  • Coblentz B.E. and D.W. Baber. 1987. Biology and control of feral pigs on Isla Santiago, Galapagos, Ecuador. Journal of Applied Ecology. 24:403-418.
  • Diong C.H. 1982. Population biology and management of the feral pig (Sus scrofa L.) in Kipahulu Valley, Mauil. Unpublished dissertation.
  • Fenner F.J.. Gibbs E.PJ., Murphy F.A., Rott R., M.J. Studdert, and D.O. White (eds.). 1993 Veterinary Virology (2nd ed.). Academic Press, Inc.
  • Ford M. and J. Grace. 1998. Effects of vertebrate herbivores on soil processes, plant biomass, litter accumulation and soil elevation changes in a coastal marsh. J. of Ecol. 86:974-982.
  • Frederick J. 1998. Overview of Wild Pig Damage in California. Vertebrate Pest Conference 18:82-86.
  • Gauss C.I., Dubey J.P., Vidal D., Ruiz F., Vicente J., Marco I., Lavin S., Gortazar C., and S. Almeria. 2005. Seroprevalence Of Toxoplasma Gondii In: Wild Pigs (Sus Scrofa) From Spain. Veterinary Parasitology 131:151-156.
  • Gingerich J.L. 1994. Florida's Fabulous Mammals. World Publications. Tampa Bay. 128 p.
  • Green D.F., and F. Ortiz. 1982. Status of sea turtle populations in the central eastern Pacific. In K. Bjornadal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles, pp. 221-233, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Hampton J.O., Spencer P.B.S., Alpers D.L., Twigg L.E, Woolnough A.P., Doust J., Higgs T. and J. Pluske. 2004. Molecular techniques, wildlife management and the importance of genetic population structure and dispersal: a case study with feral pigs. Journal of Applied Ecology 41:735-743.
  • Ickes K., Paciorek C.J., and S.C. Thomas. 2005. Impacts of Nest Construction by Native Pigs (Sus scrofa) on Lowland Malaysian Rain Forest Saplings. Ecology 86:1540-1547.
  • Ingles L.G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press. Stanford. 506 p.
  • Johnson K.G., R.W. Duncan, and M.R. Pelton. 1982. Reproductive Biology Of European Wild Hogs In The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Proceedings Of The Annual Conference Of The Southeastern Fish And Wildlife Agencies 36:552-564.
  • Kotanen P.M. 1995. Responses of vegetation to a changing regime of disturbance: effects of feral pigs in a Californian coastal prairie. Ecography 18:190-199.
  • Laycock G. 1984. Hogs In The Hills. Audubon 86:32-35.Lowery G.H., Jr. 1974. The Mammals of Louisiana and its Adjacent Waters. Louisiana State University Press. 565 p.
  • MacFarland C.G., Villa, J., and B. Toro. 1974. The Galapagos giant tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) Part I: Status of Surviving Populations. Biological Conservation 6:198-212.
  • Meads M.J., Walker K.J., and G.P. Elliott. 1984. Status, Conservation, and Management of the Land Snails of the genus Powelliphanta (Mollusca: Pulmonata). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 11:277-306.
  • Nowak R.M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 1629 p.
  • Peine J. and J. Farmer. 1990. Wild hog management program at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Vertebrate Pest Conference 14:221-227.
  • Sekhar N.U. 1998. Crop and Livestock Depradation caused By Wild Animals in Protect Areas: the Case of Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. Environmental Conservation 25:160-171.
  • Singer F.J., W.T. Swank, and E.E.C. Clebsch. 1984. Effects Of Wild Pig Rooting In A Deciduous Forest. Journal Of Wildlife Management 48:464-473.
  • Tisdell C.A.. 1982. Wild pigs: environmental pest or economic resource? Pergamon Press. Sydney, Australia. 445 p.
  • Tolleson D., Pinchak W., Rollins D., and L. Hunt. 1995. Feral hogs in the rollings plains of Texas: Perspectives, problems, and potential. Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Conference 12:124-128.
  • Van Vuren D. 1984. Diurnal Activity and Habitat Use by feral Pigs on Santa Cruz Island, California. California Fish and game 70:140-144.
  • Whitaker J.O., Jr. 1988. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 745 p.
  • Wolf T. and M.R. Conover. 2003. Feral Pigs and the Environment: An Annotated Bibliography. Jack H. Berryman Institute. 56 p.
  • Wood G.W. and D.N. Roark. 1980. Food habits of feral hogs in coastal South Carolina. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:506-511.
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Ecology

Habitat

Although Sus scrofa is found in a wide variety of habitats as a result of domestication and introduction to new areas, the typical wild habitat is generally moist forests and shrublands, especially oak forests and areas where reeds are abundant. They are thought to be mainly limited by maximum winter snowfall, deep snow decreases their ability to travel and find food. They are sensitive to severe temperature changes. Sus scrofa has developed the technique of wallowing in mud or water to maintain a comfortable temperature. Wallowing also protects against sunburn and insect bites. Sus scrofa has even been known to wallow in their own urine to keep cool. Temperatures dropping below 50 degrees will cause discomfort. Conversely, Sus scrofa is prone to sunstroke in unusually warm temperature.

(Hopf, 1979; vanLoon, 1979; Storer, 1992)

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; agricultural

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The Eurasian wild pig occupies a wide variety of temperate and tropical habitats, from semi-desert to tropical rain forests, temperate woodlands, grasslands and reed jungles; often venturing onto agricultural land to forage. It is found in a variety of habitats. In Europe, it prefers broadleaved forests and especially evergreen oak forests, but may also be found in more open habitats such as steppe, Mediterranean shrubland, and farmland, so long as there is water and tree cover nearby (Spitz 1999). In Europe it is found from sea level to 2,400 in the Pyrenees (Palomo and Gisbert 2002), but it can be found at higher elevations in Asia.

The species is omnivorous, though stomach and fecal contents analyses indicate that vegetable matter, principally fruits, seeds, roots and tubers, constitutes about 90% of the diet (Spitz, 1986). A field study of the Indonesian wild pig, S. s. vittatus, in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, indicated that these animals are predominately frugivorous, feeding on about 50 species of fruits, especially those of strangling figs (Ficus spp.), and that they are important seed dispersal agents (Pauwels, 1980). By comparison, analyses of the stomach contents of wild pigs (also S. s. vittatus) in agricultural areas of West Malaysia by Diong (1973), revealed that sugar cane, tapioca and rice were the commonest food items, but that usually more than one type of food had been eaten, even where a single cultivated crop was abundant. Other items commonly consumed by these pigs included soil, earthworms, roots and other vegetable matter and, in mangrove areas, molluscs, crabs and other arthropods and even fishes. The consumption of invertebrate and small vertebrate prey may be a necessary component of the diet, since a study of free-ranging domestic pigs in Papua New Guinea revealed that animals fed ad libitum lost weight when denied earthworms (Rose and Williams, 1983). In common with its feral derivatives (Oliver and Brisbin, 1993), S. scrofa has also occasionally been reported to predate larger vertebrates, such as deer fawns and (tethered) goats (Hoogerwerf, 1970), though it is possible that such incidents involve only a few individuals in the population; an aspect also noted by Pauwels (1980) when referring to the predation of sea turtle nests by wild pigs in Ujung Kulon. Similarly, a large boar (S. s. cristatus) in Royal Chitawan National Park, Nepal, which was seen to displace an adult leopard from its kill, a domestic buffalo calf, which it then partly consumed (W. Oliver, pers. obs.), was reported by Park staff to regularly commandeer such kills, but that no other individual pigs had been seen to do this.

Wild pigs are normally most active in the early morning and late afternoon, though they become nocturnal in disturbed areas, where activity usually commences shortly before sunset and continues throughout the night. A total of 4 to 8 hours are spent foraging or traveling to feeding areas. Feeding is generally a social activity (even solitary males may join feeding groups) which also provides an opportunity for display and other agonistic behaviours (Beuerle, 1975). Radio telemetry studies in southern France indicate that they generally travel between 2 and 15 km per night, though this is often within an area of only 20 to 150 ha. However, the home range estimates for adult females and adult males over a 2-3 month period varied from 500-1,000 ha and 1,000-2,000 ha, respectively. During this same period, subadults covered an area of 500- 5,000 ha, and after 6 to 12 months they may have covered more than 10,000 ha; the larger home ranges of these animals being related to their expulsion from their natal groups and then undergoing a wandering phase. Movements over long distances (50 to 250 km) have also been recorded in Europe, but the extent and purpose of these movements has yet to be studied (Spitz, 1986). Experiments in which tagged animals are released and subsequently recovered provide evidence that they disperse freely over even larger areas (500 to 750 km²), which may also indicate the area occupied by large population units. The density of free-ranging S. s. scrofa in Europe rarely exceeds 5 individuals/km² (Spitz, 1986), though much higher concentrations have been reported elsewhere, e.g. 27-32/km² on Peucang Island in Ujung Kulon National Park, Java (Pauwels, 1980) and 32.2-72.1/km² in sugarcane areas in the Punjab, Pakistan (Shafi and Khokhar, 1985).

Wild pigs are gregarious, forming herds or 'sounders' of varying size depending on locality and season, but usually of between 6-20 individuals, though aggregations of over 100 have been reported (Prater, 1971; Legakul and McNeely, 1977; Briedermann, 1990)). The basic social unit is a nucleus of one or more females and their last litters. Animals peripheral to this comprise subadults from previous litters, and adult males during the mating season. However, the latter tend to stay in relatively close contact with 1 or 2 female groups at other times of the year, and subadult males or mixed sex groups of subadults may also form longer-term associations (Spitz and Janeau, 1990). The dynamics of the basic group include the isolation of the preparturient female, her re-entry with young, entry of nulliparous females, the arrival of adult males with the simultaneous departure of subadult animals (Spitz, 1986). In contrast to its domestic derivatives, reproductive activity in S. scrofa tends to be seasonal and positively correlated with the relative availability of principal foodstuffs or related climatic factors. In tropical countries, such as Sri Lanka, peak estrus activity has been recorded during the wettest months of November and December (Santiapillai and Chambers, 1980). However, social organization may also play a role in modulating the timing of reproductive events, since farrowing is often synchronized amongst females in the same social groups, which suggests a mechanism for synchronizing the onset of estrus (Spitz, 1986).

Wide fluctuations in the numbers of animals killed by hunters, particularly in the (former) U.S.S.R. and in France, suggest cyclic changes in the numbers of wild pigs available for hunting. Annual recruitment into the total population depends on reproductive rate (i.e. the number and prolificacy of females) and juvenile mortality, both of which factors may be influenced by the availability of foodstuffs and other external factors (Spitz, 1986). In western Europe, litter size is usually between 4 and 7 piglets (Briedermann, 199), though Harrison and Bates (1991) cite reports of 5 and 7-10 piglets per litter as being usual in Iraq and Armenia, respectively. Pauwels (1980) recorded an average litter size of 6-10 piglets at the beginning of the breeding season in Java, but this number dropped to only 2-4 piglets per litter towards the end of the breeding season. In the Ryukyu Islands, S. Japan, there is evidence that the wild pigs (S. s. riukiuanus) have two breeding seasons per year, though it remains uncertain whether individual sows normally produce litters twice a year (Yasuma, 1984). Juvenile mortality averages 15% in the first three months in western Europe, though between 50% and 75% mortality have been reported by the end of the first year of life (Jezierski, 1977; Briedermann, 1990). These mortality rates are thought to be highly dependant on such external factors as predation and climatic hazards, at least in wilderness areas (Spitz, 1986). Similarly, Pauwel (1982) suggested that the principal causes of juvenile mortality in wild pigs in Ujung Kulon were predation (particularly as a consequence of the accidental separation of infants from their mothers), along with differences in the relative rate of development of litter-mates and various parasite-related causes. These factors resulted in only about 15% of all progeny surviving to independence.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: Densely forested mountainous terrain, brushlands, dry ridges, swamps; sometimes in fields, marshes. Often in mixed hardwood forest with permanent water source. Seasonal changes in habitat use are linked to food availability. In southern Texas, prime habitat is open brush-savanna with free water (Ilse and Hellgren 1995). Young are born in a secluded spot in dense thicket or shaded area on high dry ground.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Sus scrofa is known for its omnivorous and sometimes indiscriminate diet. The diet includes fungi, tubers and bulbs, vegetation, grains and nuts, fruit, eggs, small vertebrates, invertebrates, carrion, and manure. Such a wide range of food sources has enabled Sus scrofa to survive in a variety of environments, from deserts to mountainous terrain.

(Hopf, 1979; Storer, 1992; Porter, 1993)

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; amphibians; reptiles; eggs; carrion ; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; mollusks

Plant Foods: leaves; roots and tubers; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit

Other Foods: fungus; dung

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Comments: Feeds opportunistically on various plant/animal foods--nuts, roots, tubers, grasses, fruit, berries, also invertebrates, small vertebrates, and carrion. Tears up vegetation and soil surface while foraging.

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Feral pigs are omnivorous. They use their tusks to root through the ground in search of roots, tubers, bulbs, worms, insects, slugs and snails, and other dietary items. Additionally they will consume fallen acorns and other nuts, frogs, lizards and snakes, rodents and other vulnerable mammals, and bird eggs (Lowery 1974, Bratton et al. 1982, Laycock 1984, Baber and Coblentz 1987, Gingerich 1994). Feral pig feeding activity can impact population desities of preferred prey types (Meads et al. 1984).Feral pigs are highly adaptable and opportunistic in terms of diet, and seasonal dietary shifts occur as food items become either scarce or more abundant. For example, Wood and Roark (1980) note that in South Carolina feral pig populations, acorns and other nuts and fruits make up the bulk of the diet in the fall and winter when they are abundant. In the spring, pigs shift to foliage and herbaceous vegetation, and to tubers and roots in the summer. As a result of these dietary shifts, the degree of destructiveness caused by rooting can also vary by season.
  • Arrington D., Toth, L., and J. Koebel Jr. 1999. Effects of rooting by feral hogs, Sus scrofa L. on the structure of a flood plain vegetation assemblage. Wetlands 19:535-544.
  • Baber D.W. and B.E. Coblentz. 1987. Diet, Nutrition, and Conception In Feral Pigs On Santa Catalina Island. Journal Of Wildlife Management 51:306-317.
  • Baber D.W., and B.E. Coblentz. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • Belden R.C. 1993. Feral Hogs: The Florida Experience. Paper in Feral Swine: A Compendium For Resource Managers (Hanselka C.W. and J.F. Cadenhead, Eds.), Proceedings of a March 24-25, 1993 Kerrville, TX Conference.
  • Belden R.C., and M.R. Pelton. 1975. European wild hog rooting in the mountains of east Tennessee. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 29:665-671.
  • Bratton S.P., M.E. Harmon, and P.S. White. 1982. Patterns Of European Wild Boar Rooting In The Western Great Smokey Mountains. Castanea 47:230-242.
  • Coblentz B.E. and D.W. Baber. 1987. Biology and control of feral pigs on Isla Santiago, Galapagos, Ecuador. Journal of Applied Ecology. 24:403-418.
  • Diong C.H. 1982. Population biology and management of the feral pig (Sus scrofa L.) in Kipahulu Valley, Mauil. Unpublished dissertation.
  • Fenner F.J.. Gibbs E.PJ., Murphy F.A., Rott R., M.J. Studdert, and D.O. White (eds.). 1993 Veterinary Virology (2nd ed.). Academic Press, Inc.
  • Ford M. and J. Grace. 1998. Effects of vertebrate herbivores on soil processes, plant biomass, litter accumulation and soil elevation changes in a coastal marsh. J. of Ecol. 86:974-982.
  • Frederick J. 1998. Overview of Wild Pig Damage in California. Vertebrate Pest Conference 18:82-86.
  • Gauss C.I., Dubey J.P., Vidal D., Ruiz F., Vicente J., Marco I., Lavin S., Gortazar C., and S. Almeria. 2005. Seroprevalence Of Toxoplasma Gondii In: Wild Pigs (Sus Scrofa) From Spain. Veterinary Parasitology 131:151-156.
  • Gingerich J.L. 1994. Florida's Fabulous Mammals. World Publications. Tampa Bay. 128 p.
  • Green D.F., and F. Ortiz. 1982. Status of sea turtle populations in the central eastern Pacific. In K. Bjornadal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles, pp. 221-233, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Hampton J.O., Spencer P.B.S., Alpers D.L., Twigg L.E, Woolnough A.P., Doust J., Higgs T. and J. Pluske. 2004. Molecular techniques, wildlife management and the importance of genetic population structure and dispersal: a case study with feral pigs. Journal of Applied Ecology 41:735-743.
  • Ickes K., Paciorek C.J., and S.C. Thomas. 2005. Impacts of Nest Construction by Native Pigs (Sus scrofa) on Lowland Malaysian Rain Forest Saplings. Ecology 86:1540-1547.
  • Ingles L.G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press. Stanford. 506 p.
  • Johnson K.G., R.W. Duncan, and M.R. Pelton. 1982. Reproductive Biology Of European Wild Hogs In The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Proceedings Of The Annual Conference Of The Southeastern Fish And Wildlife Agencies 36:552-564.
  • Kotanen P.M. 1995. Responses of vegetation to a changing regime of disturbance: effects of feral pigs in a Californian coastal prairie. Ecography 18:190-199.
  • Laycock G. 1984. Hogs In The Hills. Audubon 86:32-35.Lowery G.H., Jr. 1974. The Mammals of Louisiana and its Adjacent Waters. Louisiana State University Press. 565 p.
  • MacFarland C.G., Villa, J., and B. Toro. 1974. The Galapagos giant tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) Part I: Status of Surviving Populations. Biological Conservation 6:198-212.
  • Meads M.J., Walker K.J., and G.P. Elliott. 1984. Status, Conservation, and Management of the Land Snails of the genus Powelliphanta (Mollusca: Pulmonata). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 11:277-306.
  • Nowak R.M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 1629 p.
  • Peine J. and J. Farmer. 1990. Wild hog management program at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Vertebrate Pest Conference 14:221-227.
  • Sekhar N.U. 1998. Crop and Livestock Depradation caused By Wild Animals in Protect Areas: the Case of Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. Environmental Conservation 25:160-171.
  • Singer F.J., W.T. Swank, and E.E.C. Clebsch. 1984. Effects Of Wild Pig Rooting In A Deciduous Forest. Journal Of Wildlife Management 48:464-473.
  • Tisdell C.A.. 1982. Wild pigs: environmental pest or economic resource? Pergamon Press. Sydney, Australia. 445 p.
  • Tolleson D., Pinchak W., Rollins D., and L. Hunt. 1995. Feral hogs in the rollings plains of Texas: Perspectives, problems, and potential. Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Conference 12:124-128.
  • Van Vuren D. 1984. Diurnal Activity and Habitat Use by feral Pigs on Santa Cruz Island, California. California Fish and game 70:140-144.
  • Whitaker J.O., Jr. 1988. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 745 p.
  • Wolf T. and M.R. Conover. 2003. Feral Pigs and the Environment: An Annotated Bibliography. Jack H. Berryman Institute. 56 p.
  • Wood G.W. and D.N. Roark. 1980. Food habits of feral hogs in coastal South Carolina. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:506-511.
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Associations

In ecosystems in which pigs are native, pigs contribute to the diversity of systems by disturbing the soil - creating areas for new plant colonization, and by dispersing fruit seeds. Pigs, especially the young, are also an important source of prey for large predators. In ecosystems in which pigs are not native, they are extremely destructive, outcompeting native pigs and peccaries, damaging native vegetation, and preying on native animals.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds; soil aeration

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The primary predator of mature wild pigs are humans. Mature pigs may also fall prey to very large predators, such as bears, large cats, and crocodiles. Young pigs may be preyed on by large snakes, raptors, cats, wolves, and other large predators. Pigs are extremely aggressive and bold when threatened. They use their ever-growing, sharpened tusks and the power of their bulk to charge and injure their attackers.

Known Predators:

  • humans
  • brown bears
  • large cats
  • wolves
  • crocodiles
  • large snakes
  • large raptors

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Animal / dung saprobe
solitary, gregarious to subcaespitose fruitbody of Psathyrella tenuicola is saprobic in/on dung or excretions of dung of Sus scrofa

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Although adult feral pigs are safe from most predators other than man, young animals are reportedly vulnerable to eagles and hawks, owls, foxes, and bobcats (Laycock 1984, Gingerich 1994). In south Florida, panthers are capable of taking adult pigs as prey (Gingerich 1994).Invasion History: The historic native range of S. scrofa encompassed Europe and extended through continental Asia south and east into Malaysia, and into the islands of Sumatra and Java (Ickes et al. 2005). Sus scrofa is now extinct across much of this historic range (Tisdell 1982).Pigs were among the first mammals to be domesticated by man, beginning in China some 7,000 years ago and possibly dating further back to 10,000 B.C. in the region that is now Thailand (Nowack 1991). Several millennia of selective breeding have yielded a domesticated animal that is morphologically quite distinct from the wild type from which they derived.The first introduction to the present-day United States may have been intentional introduction of domesticated hogs to the Hawaiian islands by Polynesians perhaps 1,000 years ago (Nowack 1991).The first introduction of domestic hogs to the continental US is historically documented. A vessel captained by the Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto and carrying domestic hogs destined for the New World landed on the Gulf Coast in 1539 (Lowery 1974, Gingerich 1994). Intentional or accidental release of animals derived from these stocks likely represent the source of the first feral pig populations in the continental US and in the Gulf and southeast regions.Feral pigs currently found within the United States represent a combination of descendant lines of European wild boars originally released for sport hunting purposes and feral animals derived from escaped domestic pigs. These readily interbreed where they co-occur (Whitaker 1988). The greater the percentage of wild boar a feral pig contains, the more it will resemble the wild type in appearance, typically bearing a bristly coat and mane, a straight tail, and impressive tusks (Whitaker 1988).Gingerich (1994) suggests that Florida's wild hogs may represent an amalgam of lines derived from Spanish and Russian wild boars, European hunting stock, and escaped domestic hogs. Potential to Compete With Natives: The feeding activities of feral pigs may preempt dietary resources from co-occurring animal populations. More importantly, the omnivorous nature and, particularly, the destructive rooting habits of feral pigs make them particularly troublesome invaders.Rooting digs up and overturns sizable patches of earth, destroys vegetation and seed banks, and exposes tree roots. Soil nutrient leaching is accelerated (Kotanen 1994, Singer et al. 1984, Arrington et al. 1999). Ground nesting birds and other species may be negatively impacted. Elsewhere in the United States where feral pigs occur, species such as northern short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda), southern red-backed voles (Cleithronomys gapperi), and red-cheeked salamander (Plethodon jordani) are deemed at-risk (Laylock 1984, Singer et al. 1984). Endemic herbaceous vegetation such as Clingman's hedgenettle (Stachys clingmanii) and Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginiana) may also be impacted (Bratton et al. 1982).In Hawaii, feral pigs kill several native tree species (by felling or barking them) in pursuit of native tree ferns that are a dietary staple (Diong 1982). On Santiago Island in Ecuador, egg predation by feral pigs has reduced giant tortoise and sea turtle population numbers (MacFarland et al. 1974, Green and Ortiz 1982, Coblentz and Baber 1987).Where feral pigs occur in association with wetlands and coastal marshes, pig foraging may add to the loss of these already imperiled habitats. There is at least some indication, however, that plant diversity in some instances may actually increase on localized scales in response to disturbance by pigs, e.g., if pioneering species move into areas that have been upturned by rooting pigs (Arrinton et al. 1999, Ford and Grace 1998).Baber and Coblentz (1987) indicate that feral pigs represent the most successful non-native large mammal in the United States. Possible Economic Consequences of Invasion: Landowners and farmers regularly report damage and loss due to feral pig activity. Delicate food crops like corn, oats, wheat, and, soybeans are vulnerable, as are young trees planted in silviculture operations. Home gardens often suffer damage from these animals. A 1998 study by Frederick that surveyed 40 California counties estimated economic loss resulting from pig rooting at $1.73 million (Frederick 1998).Natural habitats are also susceptible to damage from feral pig populations. A study by Singer et al. (1984) monitoring feral pigs within Great Smokey Mountains National Park reports that the destructive foraging of these invaders exposed several thousand tree roots per hectare, reduced plant cover by as much as 80%, and increased bare ground by nearly 90%. Forest litter and soil bulk density were also greatly reduced while erosion and nutrient loss from the forest floor to receiving river waters was doubled (see also Peine and Farmer 1990). Habitat alteration may include loss of native vegetation and spread of opportunistic weeds into newly disturbed areas.Feral pigs represent a potential source of disease. They carry pseudorabies, (Aujeszky's disease, porcine herpesvirus 1), a viral swine disease of considerable economic importance to the hog industry. Cattle are susceptible as secondary hosts, and infection results in the cattle disease known as mad itch. Rats, dogs, and horses are also known secondary hosts, as are populations of wild animals such as panthers (Fenner et al. 1993, Gingerich 1994).Feral pigs are also a source of trichinosis and of swine brucellosis which is potentially fatal in humans (Gingerich 1994). Leptospirosis, foot-and-mouth disease, Japanese encephalitis and the parasite Toxoplasma gondii are other disease agents harbored by feral pigs (Tolleson et al. 1995, Hampton et al. 2004, Gauss et al. 2005).Newly emerging evidence has also implicated feral pigs in a recent (2006) outbreak of E. coli spinach contamination in California that killed at least three people and caused illness in at least 200. The proposed infection pathway suggests that feral pigs transmitted the pathogenic E. coli strain to spinach fields from adjacent cattle pastures. Samples from cow manure in the pastures tested positive for the same bacterial strain responsible for the disease outbreak.The World Conservation Union's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) lists feral pigs as among "100 of the world's worst invasive alien species" and recognizes them as potentially major drivers of extinction and ecosystem change.
  • Arrington D., Toth, L., and J. Koebel Jr. 1999. Effects of rooting by feral hogs, Sus scrofa L. on the structure of a flood plain vegetation assemblage. Wetlands 19:535-544.
  • Baber D.W. and B.E. Coblentz. 1987. Diet, Nutrition, and Conception In Feral Pigs On Santa Catalina Island. Journal Of Wildlife Management 51:306-317.
  • Baber D.W., and B.E. Coblentz. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • Belden R.C. 1993. Feral Hogs: The Florida Experience. Paper in Feral Swine: A Compendium For Resource Managers (Hanselka C.W. and J.F. Cadenhead, Eds.), Proceedings of a March 24-25, 1993 Kerrville, TX Conference.
  • Belden R.C., and M.R. Pelton. 1975. European wild hog rooting in the mountains of east Tennessee. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 29:665-671.
  • Bratton S.P., M.E. Harmon, and P.S. White. 1982. Patterns Of European Wild Boar Rooting In The Western Great Smokey Mountains. Castanea 47:230-242.
  • Coblentz B.E. and D.W. Baber. 1987. Biology and control of feral pigs on Isla Santiago, Galapagos, Ecuador. Journal of Applied Ecology. 24:403-418.
  • Diong C.H. 1982. Population biology and management of the feral pig (Sus scrofa L.) in Kipahulu Valley, Mauil. Unpublished dissertation.
  • Fenner F.J.. Gibbs E.PJ., Murphy F.A., Rott R., M.J. Studdert, and D.O. White (eds.). 1993 Veterinary Virology (2nd ed.). Academic Press, Inc.
  • Ford M. and J. Grace. 1998. Effects of vertebrate herbivores on soil processes, plant biomass, litter accumulation and soil elevation changes in a coastal marsh. J. of Ecol. 86:974-982.
  • Frederick J. 1998. Overview of Wild Pig Damage in California. Vertebrate Pest Conference 18:82-86.
  • Gauss C.I., Dubey J.P., Vidal D., Ruiz F., Vicente J., Marco I., Lavin S., Gortazar C., and S. Almeria. 2005. Seroprevalence Of Toxoplasma Gondii In: Wild Pigs (Sus Scrofa) From Spain. Veterinary Parasitology 131:151-156.
  • Gingerich J.L. 1994. Florida's Fabulous Mammals. World Publications. Tampa Bay. 128 p.
  • Green D.F., and F. Ortiz. 1982. Status of sea turtle populations in the central eastern Pacific. In K. Bjornadal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles, pp. 221-233, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Hampton J.O., Spencer P.B.S., Alpers D.L., Twigg L.E, Woolnough A.P., Doust J., Higgs T. and J. Pluske. 2004. Molecular techniques, wildlife management and the importance of genetic population structure and dispersal: a case study with feral pigs. Journal of Applied Ecology 41:735-743.
  • Ickes K., Paciorek C.J., and S.C. Thomas. 2005. Impacts of Nest Construction by Native Pigs (Sus scrofa) on Lowland Malaysian Rain Forest Saplings. Ecology 86:1540-1547.
  • Ingles L.G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press. Stanford. 506 p.
  • Johnson K.G., R.W. Duncan, and M.R. Pelton. 1982. Reproductive Biology Of European Wild Hogs In The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Proceedings Of The Annual Conference Of The Southeastern Fish And Wildlife Agencies 36:552-564.
  • Kotanen P.M. 1995. Responses of vegetation to a changing regime of disturbance: effects of feral pigs in a Californian coastal prairie. Ecography 18:190-199.
  • Laycock G. 1984. Hogs In The Hills. Audubon 86:32-35.Lowery G.H., Jr. 1974. The Mammals of Louisiana and its Adjacent Waters. Louisiana State University Press. 565 p.
  • MacFarland C.G., Villa, J., and B. Toro. 1974. The Galapagos giant tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) Part I: Status of Surviving Populations. Biological Conservation 6:198-212.
  • Meads M.J., Walker K.J., and G.P. Elliott. 1984. Status, Conservation, and Management of the Land Snails of the genus Powelliphanta (Mollusca: Pulmonata). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 11:277-306.
  • Nowak R.M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 1629 p.
  • Peine J. and J. Farmer. 1990. Wild hog management program at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Vertebrate Pest Conference 14:221-227.
  • Sekhar N.U. 1998. Crop and Livestock Depradation caused By Wild Animals in Protect Areas: the Case of Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. Environmental Conservation 25:160-171.
  • Singer F.J., W.T. Swank, and E.E.C. Clebsch. 1984. Effects Of Wild Pig Rooting In A Deciduous Forest. Journal Of Wildlife Management 48:464-473.
  • Tisdell C.A.. 1982. Wild pigs: environmental pest or economic resource? Pergamon Press. Sydney, Australia. 445 p.
  • Tolleson D., Pinchak W., Rollins D., and L. Hunt. 1995. Feral hogs in the rollings plains of Texas: Perspectives, problems, and potential. Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Conference 12:124-128.
  • Van Vuren D. 1984. Diurnal Activity and Habitat Use by feral Pigs on Santa Cruz Island, California. California Fish and game 70:140-144.
  • Whitaker J.O., Jr. 1988. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 745 p.
  • Wolf T. and M.R. Conover. 2003. Feral Pigs and the Environment: An Annotated Bibliography. Jack H. Berryman Institute. 56 p.
  • Wood G.W. and D.N. Roark. 1980. Food habits of feral hogs in coastal South Carolina. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:506-511.
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Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Known predators

Sus scrofa is prey of:
Homo sapiens

Based on studies in:
Polynesia (Reef)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • W. A. Niering, Terrestrial ecology of Kapingamarangi Atoll, Caroline Islands, Ecol. Monogr. 33(2):131-160, from p. 157 (1963).
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Known prey organisms

Sus scrofa preys on:
coconut
Cyclura cornuta
Diadophis punctatus
Muscardinus avellanarius

Based on studies in:
Polynesia (Reef)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 16, 2011 at http://animaldiversity.org. http://www.animaldiversity.org
  • W. A. Niering, Terrestrial ecology of Kapingamarangi Atoll, Caroline Islands, Ecol. Monogr. 33(2):131-160, from p. 157 (1963).
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Population Biology

Belden (1993) states that in the United States, Florida's feral pig population is second only to Texas. They occur in every county in Florida and occupy a variety of habitat types, though urbanized areas and areas with major agricultural operations lack established populations. Trapping, hunting and agricultural depredation control measures have been undertaken in much of the state to control wild pig populations (Belden 1993).
  • Arrington D., Toth, L., and J. Koebel Jr. 1999. Effects of rooting by feral hogs, Sus scrofa L. on the structure of a flood plain vegetation assemblage. Wetlands 19:535-544.
  • Baber D.W. and B.E. Coblentz. 1987. Diet, Nutrition, and Conception In Feral Pigs On Santa Catalina Island. Journal Of Wildlife Management 51:306-317.
  • Baber D.W., and B.E. Coblentz. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • Belden R.C. 1993. Feral Hogs: The Florida Experience. Paper in Feral Swine: A Compendium For Resource Managers (Hanselka C.W. and J.F. Cadenhead, Eds.), Proceedings of a March 24-25, 1993 Kerrville, TX Conference.
  • Belden R.C., and M.R. Pelton. 1975. European wild hog rooting in the mountains of east Tennessee. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 29:665-671.
  • Bratton S.P., M.E. Harmon, and P.S. White. 1982. Patterns Of European Wild Boar Rooting In The Western Great Smokey Mountains. Castanea 47:230-242.
  • Coblentz B.E. and D.W. Baber. 1987. Biology and control of feral pigs on Isla Santiago, Galapagos, Ecuador. Journal of Applied Ecology. 24:403-418.
  • Diong C.H. 1982. Population biology and management of the feral pig (Sus scrofa L.) in Kipahulu Valley, Mauil. Unpublished dissertation.
  • Fenner F.J.. Gibbs E.PJ., Murphy F.A., Rott R., M.J. Studdert, and D.O. White (eds.). 1993 Veterinary Virology (2nd ed.). Academic Press, Inc.
  • Ford M. and J. Grace. 1998. Effects of vertebrate herbivores on soil processes, plant biomass, litter accumulation and soil elevation changes in a coastal marsh. J. of Ecol. 86:974-982.
  • Frederick J. 1998. Overview of Wild Pig Damage in California. Vertebrate Pest Conference 18:82-86.
  • Gauss C.I., Dubey J.P., Vidal D., Ruiz F., Vicente J., Marco I., Lavin S., Gortazar C., and S. Almeria. 2005. Seroprevalence Of Toxoplasma Gondii In: Wild Pigs (Sus Scrofa) From Spain. Veterinary Parasitology 131:151-156.
  • Gingerich J.L. 1994. Florida's Fabulous Mammals. World Publications. Tampa Bay. 128 p.
  • Green D.F., and F. Ortiz. 1982. Status of sea turtle populations in the central eastern Pacific. In K. Bjornadal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles, pp. 221-233, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Hampton J.O., Spencer P.B.S., Alpers D.L., Twigg L.E, Woolnough A.P., Doust J., Higgs T. and J. Pluske. 2004. Molecular techniques, wildlife management and the importance of genetic population structure and dispersal: a case study with feral pigs. Journal of Applied Ecology 41:735-743.
  • Ickes K., Paciorek C.J., and S.C. Thomas. 2005. Impacts of Nest Construction by Native Pigs (Sus scrofa) on Lowland Malaysian Rain Forest Saplings. Ecology 86:1540-1547.
  • Ingles L.G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press. Stanford. 506 p.
  • Johnson K.G., R.W. Duncan, and M.R. Pelton. 1982. Reproductive Biology Of European Wild Hogs In The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Proceedings Of The Annual Conference Of The Southeastern Fish And Wildlife Agencies 36:552-564.
  • Kotanen P.M. 1995. Responses of vegetation to a changing regime of disturbance: effects of feral pigs in a Californian coastal prairie. Ecography 18:190-199.
  • Laycock G. 1984. Hogs In The Hills. Audubon 86:32-35.Lowery G.H., Jr. 1974. The Mammals of Louisiana and its Adjacent Waters. Louisiana State University Press. 565 p.
  • MacFarland C.G., Villa, J., and B. Toro. 1974. The Galapagos giant tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) Part I: Status of Surviving Populations. Biological Conservation 6:198-212.
  • Meads M.J., Walker K.J., and G.P. Elliott. 1984. Status, Conservation, and Management of the Land Snails of the genus Powelliphanta (Mollusca: Pulmonata). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 11:277-306.
  • Nowak R.M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 1629 p.
  • Peine J. and J. Farmer. 1990. Wild hog management program at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Vertebrate Pest Conference 14:221-227.
  • Sekhar N.U. 1998. Crop and Livestock Depradation caused By Wild Animals in Protect Areas: the Case of Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. Environmental Conservation 25:160-171.
  • Singer F.J., W.T. Swank, and E.E.C. Clebsch. 1984. Effects Of Wild Pig Rooting In A Deciduous Forest. Journal Of Wildlife Management 48:464-473.
  • Tisdell C.A.. 1982. Wild pigs: environmental pest or economic resource? Pergamon Press. Sydney, Australia. 445 p.
  • Tolleson D., Pinchak W., Rollins D., and L. Hunt. 1995. Feral hogs in the rollings plains of Texas: Perspectives, problems, and potential. Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Conference 12:124-128.
  • Van Vuren D. 1984. Diurnal Activity and Habitat Use by feral Pigs on Santa Cruz Island, California. California Fish and game 70:140-144.
  • Whitaker J.O., Jr. 1988. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 745 p.
  • Wolf T. and M.R. Conover. 2003. Feral Pigs and the Environment: An Annotated Bibliography. Jack H. Berryman Institute. 56 p.
  • Wood G.W. and D.N. Roark. 1980. Food habits of feral hogs in coastal South Carolina. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:506-511.
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General Ecology

Usually in groups (females and one or more generations of young) or solitary (adult male, nonbreeding season). At Welder Wildlife Refuge, Texas, crude density was 9.5 per sq km; mean annual home range size (95% minimum convex polygon) was 3.36 sq km (Ilse and Hellgren 1995). Home range averages 200-300 ha in the southeastern U.S., up to several thousand ha in the western U.S. In California, high mortality occurs in the young during the first 6 months (many starve).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Smell is by far the most advanced of the pig's senses. A large round disk of cartilage is connected to muscle that gives the snout extra flexibility. Sus scrofa also has an advanced sense of taste. They are quick to identify unknown objects with their sense of taste. It is believed that Sus scrofa lacks good eyesight. The eyes are positioned on the sides of the head, restricting their forward vision. Pigs also vocalize, consisting mainly of grunts and squeals.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Behaviour

"The Indian wild boar is found during the day in high grass or bushes, sometimes in forest and often in high crops—the females and young as a rule associating in herds or """"sounders"""" usually of ten or a dozen, and rarely exceeding about twenty individuals, whilst the adult males keep apart. They roam about and feed on various vegetable substances in the morning and evening. They are partial to marsh, and feed largely on the roots of plants growing- in swampy places especially, according to Jerdon, on those of a sedge that is found on the edges of tanks. They turn up the soft ground with their snouts when rooting about for food, and leave marks easily recognized. No animals are more destructive to crops. The food of wild pigs is, however, not absolutely restricted to vegetables ; they have several times been observed to feed on dead animals, and Mr. Peal states that in Assam they dig out and eat the fish that bury themselves in mud during the dry season. Wild pigs feed much at night, but they are less nocturnal in tracts where they can feed without disturbance after sunrise. The speed of a wild pig is considerable, but not for a long distance. A boar is perhaps the most courageous of all wild animals, and generally fights to the death. Several instances are on record of desperate fights between a large boar and a tiger, and in not a few the tiger has been killed. Wild pigs have a habit of cutting grass and making a kind of shelter in which they are said to leave the young. Old boars may sometimes be found in these lairs, as Simson states in his 'Letters on Sport in Eastern Bengal.'"
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Cyclicity

Comments: Active anytime; often crepuscular; nocturnal activity tends to be more common in summer, diurnal activty more common in cooler months.

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Life Expectancy

Wild pigs usually live to about 10 years old, although some have been recorded living as long as 27 years. Mortality in the young is high.

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
27 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
10 years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
21.0 years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
20.0 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 27 years (captivity) Observations: While achieving sexual maturity much earlier, males do not typically mate until they are about 5 years old. One specimen of the *riukiuanus* subspecies lived for 27 years in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

Mating season is a violent time, as males often fight for access to females. Male Sus scrofa are able to continuously sharpen their tusks by rubbing the lower ones against the upper ones. The tusks are used as weapons most frequently during mating season. Sus scrofa individuals develop thick tissue around the front of the belly to help protect against stab wounds from tusks. The most aggressive males have been known to secure as many as eight sows during a single mating season.

Mating System: polygynous

In temperate regions females give birth to one litter in the spring. In tropical regions breeding occurs year-round but is often concentrated during moist seasons. Females have an estrous of about 21 days and are receptive for 3 days. Young are born after a gestation period of about 115 days (range 100 to 140). Mothers give birth to litters of from 1 to 12 young, generally between 4 and 8. Although sexual maturity can be reached between 8 and 10 months of age, females generally don't breed until 18 months old and males do not generally reach the size necessary to compete for females until 5 years old.

(Hopf, 1979)

Breeding interval: Females give birth to one to several litters in a year, depending on the region.

Breeding season: Breeding season is dependent on regional climate.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 12.

Average number of offspring: 4-8.

Range gestation period: 100 to 140 days.

Average gestation period: 115 days.

Range weaning age: 3 to 4 months.

Average time to independence: 7 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 18 (high) months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 8-10 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 60 (high) months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 8-10 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous

Average birth mass: 960 g.

Average number of offspring: 7.

Female Sus scrofa give birth to their young in a nest constructed of grass. The young remain in the nest for some time after birth. Females are extremely protective of their young. Despite these protective measures, on average only half of a litter will survive to maturity, many fall prey to predators and disease. Young are nursed for 3 to 4 months and generally become independent before the next litter is born (up to 1 year).

Parental Investment: precocial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)

  • Nowak, R. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World, Fifth Edition. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
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May breed year-round; usually there are seasonal peaks. Gestation 108-123 days. Litter size ranges up to 12 (average 4-6 in California, 5-8 in the southeastern U.S.). Average of 2 litters/year in California. Sexually mature usually in less than 1 year (male may not breed until more than 1 year old).

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"The period of gestation is about 4 mouths, and they, sometimes at all events, breed twice in the year; the number of young is usually 4 to 6 in S. scrofa."
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In temperate regions breeding in S. scrofa is confined to the spring, whereas in subtropical climates the breeding season is protracted. In the tropics, breeding can occur throughout the year. Regardless of location, peek breeding coincides with the rainy season (Nowak 1991).Both sexes usually reach sexual maturity in the first year of life-between 8-12 months in males and as early as 5-8 months in females (Johnson et al. 1982). Despite early onset of maturity, female feral pigs usually do not breed prior to 18 months' age, while males tend not to achieve reproductive success until they are fully grown at approximately age five. The estrous cycle of female pigs is approximately 21 days (Ingles 1965).Adult males are solitary outside of the breeding season while females and juveniles are gregarious (Gingerich 1994). Females leave the group to nest and give birth. This nesting behavior is atypical of ungulate (hoofed) mammals. Litters usually consist of between 3 and 12 young and females generally produce one or two litters each season throughout their reproductive lives (Ingles 1965, Gingerich 1994).
  • Arrington D., Toth, L., and J. Koebel Jr. 1999. Effects of rooting by feral hogs, Sus scrofa L. on the structure of a flood plain vegetation assemblage. Wetlands 19:535-544.
  • Baber D.W. and B.E. Coblentz. 1987. Diet, Nutrition, and Conception In Feral Pigs On Santa Catalina Island. Journal Of Wildlife Management 51:306-317.
  • Baber D.W., and B.E. Coblentz. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • Belden R.C. 1993. Feral Hogs: The Florida Experience. Paper in Feral Swine: A Compendium For Resource Managers (Hanselka C.W. and J.F. Cadenhead, Eds.), Proceedings of a March 24-25, 1993 Kerrville, TX Conference.
  • Belden R.C., and M.R. Pelton. 1975. European wild hog rooting in the mountains of east Tennessee. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 29:665-671.
  • Bratton S.P., M.E. Harmon, and P.S. White. 1982. Patterns Of European Wild Boar Rooting In The Western Great Smokey Mountains. Castanea 47:230-242.
  • Coblentz B.E. and D.W. Baber. 1987. Biology and control of feral pigs on Isla Santiago, Galapagos, Ecuador. Journal of Applied Ecology. 24:403-418.
  • Diong C.H. 1982. Population biology and management of the feral pig (Sus scrofa L.) in Kipahulu Valley, Mauil. Unpublished dissertation.
  • Fenner F.J.. Gibbs E.PJ., Murphy F.A., Rott R., M.J. Studdert, and D.O. White (eds.). 1993 Veterinary Virology (2nd ed.). Academic Press, Inc.
  • Ford M. and J. Grace. 1998. Effects of vertebrate herbivores on soil processes, plant biomass, litter accumulation and soil elevation changes in a coastal marsh. J. of Ecol. 86:974-982.
  • Frederick J. 1998. Overview of Wild Pig Damage in California. Vertebrate Pest Conference 18:82-86.
  • Gauss C.I., Dubey J.P., Vidal D., Ruiz F., Vicente J., Marco I., Lavin S., Gortazar C., and S. Almeria. 2005. Seroprevalence Of Toxoplasma Gondii In: Wild Pigs (Sus Scrofa) From Spain. Veterinary Parasitology 131:151-156.
  • Gingerich J.L. 1994. Florida's Fabulous Mammals. World Publications. Tampa Bay. 128 p.
  • Green D.F., and F. Ortiz. 1982. Status of sea turtle populations in the central eastern Pacific. In K. Bjornadal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles, pp. 221-233, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Hampton J.O., Spencer P.B.S., Alpers D.L., Twigg L.E, Woolnough A.P., Doust J., Higgs T. and J. Pluske. 2004. Molecular techniques, wildlife management and the importance of genetic population structure and dispersal: a case study with feral pigs. Journal of Applied Ecology 41:735-743.
  • Ickes K., Paciorek C.J., and S.C. Thomas. 2005. Impacts of Nest Construction by Native Pigs (Sus scrofa) on Lowland Malaysian Rain Forest Saplings. Ecology 86:1540-1547.
  • Ingles L.G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press. Stanford. 506 p.
  • Johnson K.G., R.W. Duncan, and M.R. Pelton. 1982. Reproductive Biology Of European Wild Hogs In The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Proceedings Of The Annual Conference Of The Southeastern Fish And Wildlife Agencies 36:552-564.
  • Kotanen P.M. 1995. Responses of vegetation to a changing regime of disturbance: effects of feral pigs in a Californian coastal prairie. Ecography 18:190-199.
  • Laycock G. 1984. Hogs In The Hills. Audubon 86:32-35.Lowery G.H., Jr. 1974. The Mammals of Louisiana and its Adjacent Waters. Louisiana State University Press. 565 p.
  • MacFarland C.G., Villa, J., and B. Toro. 1974. The Galapagos giant tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) Part I: Status of Surviving Populations. Biological Conservation 6:198-212.
  • Meads M.J., Walker K.J., and G.P. Elliott. 1984. Status, Conservation, and Management of the Land Snails of the genus Powelliphanta (Mollusca: Pulmonata). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 11:277-306.
  • Nowak R.M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 1629 p.
  • Peine J. and J. Farmer. 1990. Wild hog management program at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Vertebrate Pest Conference 14:221-227.
  • Sekhar N.U. 1998. Crop and Livestock Depradation caused By Wild Animals in Protect Areas: the Case of Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. Environmental Conservation 25:160-171.
  • Singer F.J., W.T. Swank, and E.E.C. Clebsch. 1984. Effects Of Wild Pig Rooting In A Deciduous Forest. Journal Of Wildlife Management 48:464-473.
  • Tisdell C.A.. 1982. Wild pigs: environmental pest or economic resource? Pergamon Press. Sydney, Australia. 445 p.
  • Tolleson D., Pinchak W., Rollins D., and L. Hunt. 1995. Feral hogs in the rollings plains of Texas: Perspectives, problems, and potential. Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Conference 12:124-128.
  • Van Vuren D. 1984. Diurnal Activity and Habitat Use by feral Pigs on Santa Cruz Island, California. California Fish and game 70:140-144.
  • Whitaker J.O., Jr. 1988. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 745 p.
  • Wolf T. and M.R. Conover. 2003. Feral Pigs and the Environment: An Annotated Bibliography. Jack H. Berryman Institute. 56 p.
  • Wood G.W. and D.N. Roark. 1980. Food habits of feral hogs in coastal South Carolina. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:506-511.
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Growth

Gestation varies between 100 and 140 days. Young are weaned in 3-4 months and often leave their mother before the next litter if the mother produces multiple litters in a breeding season (Nowack 1991). Early mortality rates can be high. Baber and Coblentz (1986) reported that 58% of piglets died before weaning.
  • Arrington D., Toth, L., and J. Koebel Jr. 1999. Effects of rooting by feral hogs, Sus scrofa L. on the structure of a flood plain vegetation assemblage. Wetlands 19:535-544.
  • Baber D.W. and B.E. Coblentz. 1987. Diet, Nutrition, and Conception In Feral Pigs On Santa Catalina Island. Journal Of Wildlife Management 51:306-317.
  • Baber D.W., and B.E. Coblentz. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • Belden R.C. 1993. Feral Hogs: The Florida Experience. Paper in Feral Swine: A Compendium For Resource Managers (Hanselka C.W. and J.F. Cadenhead, Eds.), Proceedings of a March 24-25, 1993 Kerrville, TX Conference.
  • Belden R.C., and M.R. Pelton. 1975. European wild hog rooting in the mountains of east Tennessee. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 29:665-671.
  • Bratton S.P., M.E. Harmon, and P.S. White. 1982. Patterns Of European Wild Boar Rooting In The Western Great Smokey Mountains. Castanea 47:230-242.
  • Coblentz B.E. and D.W. Baber. 1987. Biology and control of feral pigs on Isla Santiago, Galapagos, Ecuador. Journal of Applied Ecology. 24:403-418.
  • Diong C.H. 1982. Population biology and management of the feral pig (Sus scrofa L.) in Kipahulu Valley, Mauil. Unpublished dissertation.
  • Fenner F.J.. Gibbs E.PJ., Murphy F.A., Rott R., M.J. Studdert, and D.O. White (eds.). 1993 Veterinary Virology (2nd ed.). Academic Press, Inc.
  • Ford M. and J. Grace. 1998. Effects of vertebrate herbivores on soil processes, plant biomass, litter accumulation and soil elevation changes in a coastal marsh. J. of Ecol. 86:974-982.
  • Frederick J. 1998. Overview of Wild Pig Damage in California. Vertebrate Pest Conference 18:82-86.
  • Gauss C.I., Dubey J.P., Vidal D., Ruiz F., Vicente J., Marco I., Lavin S., Gortazar C., and S. Almeria. 2005. Seroprevalence Of Toxoplasma Gondii In: Wild Pigs (Sus Scrofa) From Spain. Veterinary Parasitology 131:151-156.
  • Gingerich J.L. 1994. Florida's Fabulous Mammals. World Publications. Tampa Bay. 128 p.
  • Green D.F., and F. Ortiz. 1982. Status of sea turtle populations in the central eastern Pacific. In K. Bjornadal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles, pp. 221-233, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Hampton J.O., Spencer P.B.S., Alpers D.L., Twigg L.E, Woolnough A.P., Doust J., Higgs T. and J. Pluske. 2004. Molecular techniques, wildlife management and the importance of genetic population structure and dispersal: a case study with feral pigs. Journal of Applied Ecology 41:735-743.
  • Ickes K., Paciorek C.J., and S.C. Thomas. 2005. Impacts of Nest Construction by Native Pigs (Sus scrofa) on Lowland Malaysian Rain Forest Saplings. Ecology 86:1540-1547.
  • Ingles L.G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press. Stanford. 506 p.
  • Johnson K.G., R.W. Duncan, and M.R. Pelton. 1982. Reproductive Biology Of European Wild Hogs In The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Proceedings Of The Annual Conference Of The Southeastern Fish And Wildlife Agencies 36:552-564.
  • Kotanen P.M. 1995. Responses of vegetation to a changing regime of disturbance: effects of feral pigs in a Californian coastal prairie. Ecography 18:190-199.
  • Laycock G. 1984. Hogs In The Hills. Audubon 86:32-35.Lowery G.H., Jr. 1974. The Mammals of Louisiana and its Adjacent Waters. Louisiana State University Press. 565 p.
  • MacFarland C.G., Villa, J., and B. Toro. 1974. The Galapagos giant tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) Part I: Status of Surviving Populations. Biological Conservation 6:198-212.
  • Meads M.J., Walker K.J., and G.P. Elliott. 1984. Status, Conservation, and Management of the Land Snails of the genus Powelliphanta (Mollusca: Pulmonata). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 11:277-306.
  • Nowak R.M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 1629 p.
  • Peine J. and J. Farmer. 1990. Wild hog management program at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Vertebrate Pest Conference 14:221-227.
  • Sekhar N.U. 1998. Crop and Livestock Depradation caused By Wild Animals in Protect Areas: the Case of Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. Environmental Conservation 25:160-171.
  • Singer F.J., W.T. Swank, and E.E.C. Clebsch. 1984. Effects Of Wild Pig Rooting In A Deciduous Forest. Journal Of Wildlife Management 48:464-473.
  • Tisdell C.A.. 1982. Wild pigs: environmental pest or economic resource? Pergamon Press. Sydney, Australia. 445 p.
  • Tolleson D., Pinchak W., Rollins D., and L. Hunt. 1995. Feral hogs in the rollings plains of Texas: Perspectives, problems, and potential. Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Conference 12:124-128.
  • Van Vuren D. 1984. Diurnal Activity and Habitat Use by feral Pigs on Santa Cruz Island, California. California Fish and game 70:140-144.
  • Whitaker J.O., Jr. 1988. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 745 p.
  • Wolf T. and M.R. Conover. 2003. Feral Pigs and the Environment: An Annotated Bibliography. Jack H. Berryman Institute. 56 p.
  • Wood G.W. and D.N. Roark. 1980. Food habits of feral hogs in coastal South Carolina. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:506-511.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Sus scrofa

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 96 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

AATCGTTGACTATACTCAACAAACCACAAAGACATCGGCACCCTGTACCTACTATTTGGTGCCTGAGCAGGAATAGTGGGCACTGCCTTG---AGCCTACTAATTCGCGCTGAACTAGGTCAGCCCGGAACCCTACTTGGCGAT---GATCAAATCTATAATGTAATTGTTACAGCTCATGCCTTTGTAATAATCTTCTTTATAGTAATACCCATTATGATTGGGGGTTTTGGTAACTGACTCGTACCGCTAATA---ATCGGAGCTCCCGATATGGCCTTTCCACGTATAAACAACATAAGTTTCTGACTACTTCCACCATCCTTCCTATTACTACTGGCATCCTCAATAGTAGAAGCCGGGGCGGGCACTGGATGAACCGTATACCCACCTTTAGCTGGAAACTTAGCCCATGCAGGAGCTTCAGTTGATCTA---ACAATTTTCTCCCTACACCTTGCAGGTGTATCATCAATCCTAGGGGCTATTAATTTCATTACCACAATTATTAACATAAAACCTCCCGCAATGTCTCAATACCAAACACCCCTGTTTGTCTGATCAGTACTAATCACAGCCGTACTACTTCTACTATCCCTGCCAGTTCTAGCAGCT---GGCATTACTATACTACTGACAGACCGCAACCTGAACACAACCTTTTTTGATCCAGCAGGTGGTGGAGACCCTATCCTTTATCAACACTTGTTCTGATTTTTCGGACACCCAGAAGTATATATTCTCATCTTACCAGGGTTCGGAATAATCTCCCACATTGTAACCTACTATTCAGGTAAAAAA---GAACCATTTGGATATATAGGCATAGTATGAGCCATAATGTCCATTGGATTCTTAGGTTTTATCGTATGGGCTCACCACATATTCACCGTAGGAATAGACGTGGATACCCGAGCATACTTTACATCTGCCACAATAATCATTGCTATTCCCACTGGAGTAAAAGTATTTAGTTGATTA---GCTACCCTGCACGGCGGC---AATATTAAATGATCACCCGCAATACTATGAGCTCTGGGCTTCATCTTCCTATTCACCGTAGGAGGTCTAACGGGCATTGTACTAGCTAACTCCTCCCTAGACATTGTATTACATGATACATATTATGTAGTCGCACACTTCCACTATGTC---TTATCTATAGGAGCAGTGTTTGCCATTATAGGGGGCTTTGTTCACTGATTCCCCCTATTCTCCGGGTACACACTCAACCAAGCATGAGCAAAAATTCACTTTGTAATTATATTCGTAGGAGTAAATATAACATTCTTTCCACAACACTTTCTAGGACTATCCGGAATACCTCGA---CGATACTCCGATTATCCTGACGCATACACA---GCATGAAATACTATTTCCTCAATAGGCTCATTCATCTCACTAACAGCAGTGATATTAATAATCTTCATTATCTGAGAAGCATTTGCATCAAAACGAGAAGTA---TCTGCAGTAGAACTGACAAGCACAAAC
-- end --

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sus scrofa

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 98
Specimens with Barcodes: 181
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Sus scrofa is not threatened in general. Populations of wild pig were exterminated through hunting from large parts of their native range, including the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Egypt. Reintroduction programs in Scandinavia seem to have been successful. Native pigs of the Ryukyu Islands (S. s. riukiuanus) are considered vulnerable as a result of excessive hunting. This subspecies is endemic to these islands, not an introduced feral population. There are numerous breeds of domesticated Sus scrofa, some of which seem to be in danger of disappearing and are the focus of domestic breed conservation efforts.

(Porter, 1993)

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Oliver, W. & Leus, K.

Reviewer/s
Leus, K. ( Pig, Peccary & Hippo Red List Authority) & Stuart, S.N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern due to its wide range, abundance, tolerance to habitat disturbance, and presence in many protected areas.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1 Year Published: 2008
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Status in Egypt

Extinct.

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Population

Population
This species is abundant in many parts of its range, though populations can be depressed in places where hunting intensity is high (for example in eastern and southeastern Asia). Eurasian wild pig populations in Europe increased markedly during the latter part of the 20th century (Spitz 1999), but are now thought to be stable in most areas. Populations in England, southern Sweden and Finland may still be increasing (Battersby 2005). Although there is no global population estimate, numbers can be high in many places. For example, in 1982 in Mongolia, there was a population density of 0.9 per 1,000 ha in the Khovsgol area. By 1989, it was estimated that 34,000 individuals were living in the Khentii and Khangai Mountain regions of Mongolia, with an average density of 1 - 2 per 1,000 ha.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
At a global level, there are no major threats to the species. However, there are many threats at a more local level, principally habitat destruction and hunting pressure, either for food, sport or in reprisal for crop damage, particularly in areas near human habitation. In Afghanistan, Hassinger (1973) cited reports of the decrease in the numbers of wild pigs in the Pul-i-Khumri District in the 1950s as a result of the draining of marshlands for agricultural purposes, and hunting by Europeans; but noted that they were still numerous in other districts where: "they invade the fields and cause serious damage during the harvest". In parts of Perak and Johore in West Malaysia, Diong (1973) reported that the numbers of wild pigs (S. s. vittatus) had diminished drastically as a result of increased hunting pressure, particularly for commercial purposes, and that most hunting methods, whether with guns, dogs or snares, was entirely non-selective. Nonetheless, wild pigs are still included in Malaysia's 'Agricultural Pest Ordinance, 1977', on account of their damage to a variety of crops, including sugar cane, tapioca, rice and even coconuts. Lay (1967) also remarked upon the damage to crops by wild pigs in Iran which: "...brings great wrath upon them, usually ineffectual, from the local farmers". In Pakistan, the expansion of the sugar cane industry in the 1960s and early 1970s brought about local increases in the numbers of wild pigs (S. s. davidi), whose depredations in the cane fields (estimated at an annual loss rate of Rs.5 million in 1978) led to the development of control measures, including the use of poison baits (Shafi and Khokhar, 1985).

Although actually referring to wild pigs in India, it is clear that Prater's (1971) opinion that: "No animal is more destructive to crops and, in cultivated areas, it is impossible to make a plea for its protection", would find popular support in many other countries. In the Ryukyu Islands, S. Japan, the endemic S. s. riukiuanus is actively regarded as an environmental pest, and bounties are paid to farmers for killing them by the Japanese Government, despite the fact that this taxon is recognized internationally as being seriously threatened throughout it extremely restricted range (see later text). In various places in Indonesia, most notably in Java, deliberate attempts have been made in the past to eradicate wild pigs altogether by means of organized shooting parties and poisoning campaigns. However, despite many thousands of wild pigs being destroyed in this way, it is clear that this has had little lasting effect on these animals which, according to Hoogerwerf (1970), have: "remained further removed from extinction than any other species of game in Java". This situation evidently obtains in a number of other countries, including Viet Nam (R. Ratajszsak pers. comm.) and Taiwan (K. Nowell pers. comm.), where wild pigs are reported to survive in a number of nominally protected areas where all or most of the other principal 'game' species have been eradicated by sustained hunting pressure.

In these and many other (non-Islamic) countries or local communities, wild pigs often constitute the single most important game animal to subsistence and/or recreational hunters. Sport hunting accounts for about 30 to 50% of animals heavier than 20 kg in southern France, though this figure may be as high as 50 to 75% in some heavily populated countries, where hunting remains largely or wholly uncontrolled (Spitz, 1986). For example, the wild pig population inhabiting the 25,000 ha of broadleaved woodlands around Monticiano in Italy, has apparently been able to sustain its numbers despite an annual hunter-kill rate of about 50% (c. 500 animals) of the population (Devitt, 1984).

According to figures produced by the Japanese Environment Agency a total of 1,279,453 (an average of 63,973 per annum) wild pigs were harvested in Japan between 1970 and 1989 (incl.), of which 1,083,858 (85%) were taken by hunters, and the remaining 195,596 were destroyed as crop pests during the closed season. The great majority of these animals are S. s. leucomystax from the main islands of Honshu, Shikoko and Kyushu, and this subspecies is evidently able to withstand high levels of harvesting to judge from contemporary reports of marginal expansions in the overall range of this subspecies (Hanai, 1982; Takahashi, 1980). Unfortunately, however, these totals do not differentiate between the numbers of S. s. leucomystax and those of S. s. riukiuanus from the three small islands of Amami Oshima, Tokuno Shima and Kakeroma Jima, which are also included in these figures. As previously indicated, the latter subspecies is declining rapidly in numbers on these islands, and on the neighbouring island of Okinawa, largely as a result of over-hunting (Barber et al., 1984; H. Obara pers. comm.). This conclusion is also borne out by official figures on the annual harvest of S. s. riukiuanus from two other islands, Iriomote and Ishigaki, in the Ryukyu chain between 1965 and 1981, which indicate a downward trend in the numbers of these animals (Yasuma, 1984) and a marked increase in the amount of effort required by local hunters to obtain smaller catches (Hanai, 1982). Nonetheless, according to these figures an average of 530 and 190 wild pigs were still being taken annually on Iriomote and Ishigaki, respectively; of which slightly more than 50% were killed as 'agricultural pests', i.e. mostly out of season, often with a Government bounty being paid. Moreover, it is certain that these totals are a serious underestimate - perhaps by as much as 50-100% - of the actual numbers killed, since many hunters operate without licenses and do not declare their catches (Barber et al., 1984; Yasuma, 1984). Formerly, virtually all of these pigs were consumed locally but, following the restoration of electricity (and, hence, refrigeration) in 1972, commercial traders began operating on the islands, and the majority of carcasses are now exported to gourmet markets in Osaka, where they realize relatively high prices and ensure a continued demand for wild-caught meat (Yasuma, 1984).

Wild pigs are also susceptible to a variety of highly contagious diseases which can decimate their populations. Santiapillai et al. (1991) referred to a catastrophic crash in the wild pig population of Ruhuna National Park in Sri Lanka in 1989 owing to an outbreak of swine fever, but that population numbers had apparently recovered by June 1991. Many wild pigs are also reported to have died during an outbreak of disease in the Kanto Region on Honshu Island, Japan in 1877 (Yanagida, 1913). It is possible that this was hog cholera, contracted from domestic pigs which were imported to the region at that time (Chiba, 1975), and this may have been one of the factors contributing to the extirpation of S. s. leucomystax throughout the north of their range on this island. An outbreak of severe skin disease (tentatively identified as sarcoptic mange) on Iriomote, which was first noted in 1976, had spread throughout the Island by 1980, and infected up to 83% of the S. s. riukiuanus population according to data based on hunter-killed samples (Yasuma, 1984).

The Ryukyu pigs are also threatened by genetic contamination through contact with free-ranging domesticates. On Ishigaki Island, interbreeding with domestic pigs has been so prevalent that it is doubtful if the remaining wild stock can be considered genetically pure (Obara, 1982). Moreover, it is unlikely that this problem will be confined to Ishigaki, given that the meat from wild x domestic hybrids or 'ino-buta' is popular and local farmers will continue to produce it. Indeed, ino-buta have been farmed commercially on Iriomote for many years, often in poorly controlled conditions. As a result, feral ino-buta have become established on the adjacent, smaller islands of Sotobanare and Uchibanare, and it is claimed that a number of these animals have crossed onto Iriomote at low tide; thereby posing a further, serious threat to the remaining wild stock there (Yasuma, 1984; Takahashi and Tisdell, 1992).

Similarly, Genov et al. (1991) reported that the traditional practice of rearing 'domestic' pigs in semi-wild conditions in Bulgaria has resulted in their hybridizing with the wild boar populations in the eastern and north-eastern parts of that country, and that genetically pure wild boars now occur only in the Rila-Pirin-Rhodopes Mountains in the south of this country, where domestic pigs are not reared in the wild. The principal threat to the survival of the Monticiano population in Italy, lies not so much with the high annual hunter-kill rate but with the fact that the genetic integrity of the native population has been seriously compromised by the introduction of Central European boars after World War II, which have interbred with these animals. Indeed, the introduction of non-native wild pigs, by hunting interest groups in the belief that these were more desirable because of their larger size and reputed greater fecundity, has been so widespread in Italy that the only surviving pure-bred native stock is thought to be in the presidential reserve in Castel Porziano, near Rome (Devitt, 1984).
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"Habitat destruction, Hunting."
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Generally, few, if any, practical measures have been taken in any country for the specific purpose of conserving wild populations of any subspecies of S. scrofa, except in the sense of maintaining stock levels for hunting, particularly for sport hunting. Thus Genov et al. (1991) reported a gradual increase of the wild boar population in Bulgaria in the late 1950s following legal measures to regulate hunting, and because of the reintroduction of animals from breeding farms in the north-east of the country, in the Balkan Range and Sredna Gora. Even in this instance, however, other factors may also be operating, since similar increases in the local wild pig populations in Spain, France, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and eastern Russia have been described by Sáez-Royuela and Tellería (1986), who simply attributed this trend to a progression to a more temperate climate and, hence, progressively milder winters of benefit to these animals.

Local wild pig populations are also reported to be increasing in numbers in several countries as a consequence of the spread of Islam. For example, the north-west African race, S. s. algira, although extinct in Libya, is thought to be expanding in neighboring Algeria where it is designated a game animal but, as the meat is now seldom eaten in this country, hunting pressure has been greatly reduced since colonial times (Kowalski and Rzebik-Kowalski, 1991). These authors also cite earlier reports of wild boars hybridizing with domestic pigs, but the latter are no longer kept in Algeria.

S. s. riukiuanus has been included in the IUCN Red List since 1982, where its 'Vulnerable' status reflected a widespread concern about the environmentally destructive development of the Ryukyu Islands and the growing number of threats to the ecosystems and endemic species of Iriomote and other islands in this region. In 1978, these concerns led to the passing of a resolution at the 14th IUCN General Assembly in Ashkhabad, which called upon the Government of Japan to take immediate steps to ensure the conservation of Iriomote Island and its endemic taxa, and for the subsequent designation of the whole of the Nansei Shoto Region (often referred to as the 'Galápagos of the East' on account of the high percent endemicity of its fauna and flora) as a bio-geographical priority region in the World Conservation Strategy. In 1982, the 'Nansei Shoto Conservation Project' was launched by WWF-Japan, with initial emphasis being placed on the conduct of wildlife and socio-economic surveys on Iriomote and Amami Oshima (Obara, 1984a,b). In the interim, however, the desired increased protection of the Nansei Shoto Region was clearly at odds with the Japanese Government's regional policies, and the development of the islands continued - a circumstance which led to the passage of a another resolution, highlighting Japan's treatment of the region, at the 16th General Assembly of IUCN in Costa Rica in 1986. This also appears to have had little affect, as evinced by further major development plans, including the controversial Ishigaki Airport extension, and recent plans to construct a new dam and road on Iriomote Island. Although one third of Iriomote has been designated as a national park, the proposed road will cut through the park and will also increase access by poachers who have already reduced the wild pig to less than half of its numbers before the park was created (Brazil, 1988).

Of all wild pigs species, S. scrofa is by far the most widely maintained and bred in captivity, though general perceptions about the relative abundance of this species has resulted in diminished interest in its propagation. Many zoos, particularly in western Europe, have therefore disposed of their stocks of these animals, mostly to 'wild boar breeding farms', which have escalated in number to meet growing demands in the gourmet meat markets and for commercial diversification. In addition, increasingly restrictive quarantine and other veterinary regulations appertaining to the international movements of all live suids, has made it extremely difficult to establish new breeding programs.

Contrarily, since these animals are most easily acquired in their countries of origin, local stocks are most likely to be pure-bred and, hence, most valuable for research and conservation purposes. In this situation, priority should be given to the establishment of national or regional breeding programmes for each of the rarest subspecies, especially S. s. riukiuanus.

As a general rule, S. scrofa is both highly adaptable and highly resistant to a variety of degradative processes, and may thrive under conditions of habitat modification and hunting pressure which have devastated other forms of wildlife. In addition, most subspecies are well represented in protected areas in their relatively extensive ranges. Nonetheless, there are reasons for concern about a number of distinct populations of S. scrofa, of which the Ryukyu pigs are undoubtedly the most seriously threatened. Indeed, riukiuanus is the only subspecies of S. scrofa to be included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals (IUCN, 1990), where it has been accorded the status of 'Vulnerable' since 1982, but is already thought to be 'Endangered' on at least four of the six islands in the Ryukyu Chain which constitute its entire, and therefore extremely restricted, range. This particular form is also the most distinct, and (with an average adult male body weight of only about 45 kg; Barber et al., 1984) by far the smallest, subspecies. It is therefore of some interest as a potential genetic resource, as well as being one of the principal 'flagship' animals for increased conservation activity in the crucially important Nansei Shoto Region. For all of these reasons, the following recommendations (taken from Oliver et al 1993) are mostly confined to the immediate and longer-term management requirements of this taxon.

Objectives
1. To promote local interest in, and the enhanced future protection and management of, the Ryukyu Islands' dwarf wild pig, S. s. riukiuanus, and any other threatened native subspecies may be identified in the future;

2. To promote further applied research on the taxonomy, distribution, conservation status and biology of the species, particularly the least known forms;

3. To discourage any future releases of any specimens of any subspecies of this species, or its domestic and feral derivatives, outside their known former ranges, and encourage the eradication or control of such introduced populations as may exist at present; and

4. To investigate the cultural and economic significance of these animals to local people, particularly in southeast Asia, and their potential genetic importance in terms of: a) possibilities for their further domestication and/or b) an enhanced understanding of the origins and relationships of present day domestic and wild populations.

Priority Projects:
1. Provide all appropriate support to any existing or proposed future conservation initiatives in the Nansei Shoto Region, relevant to the enhanced future management and protection of the Ryukyu Island's dwarf wild pig, S. s. riukiuanus.

2. Conduct (preliminary or repeat) status surveys on all (six) islands in the Ryukyu Group known to support remnant populations of S. s. riukiuanus (i.e. Iriomote, Ishigaki, Okinawa, Tokunoshima, Amamioshima and Kakerome), and implement emergent recommendations.

3. Promote development of a coordinated breeding programmed for S. s. riukiuanus, both nationally and internationally.

4. Collect, evaluate and disseminate data on the taxonomic relationships, distribution and conservation status of other, less-known forms, with a view to the resolution of certain outstanding taxonomic problems and the development of recommendations for their enhanced future protection, if so required. Additional data is needed on the distribution and status of some, poorly-known subspecies and populations, including a tentatively assigned form (subsp. nov.) from the central highlands of Sri Lanka and the insular taivanus (Taiwan). Efforts should also be made to resolve outstanding questions relating to the genetic distinctness and range limitations of many of the continental races, which are poorly understood at present.

5. Promote further research on the biology and ecology of all less-studied populations, particularly those in extreme habitats, or in areas of sympatry with other species of Sus. Most of the information on this species has originated from studies conducted in Europe or on the feral populations in the U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand. Priority should therefore be given to studies of other populations elsewhere, particularly those in semi-desert regions or other extreme habitats, and/or studies focused on the ecological and genetic relationships between this and other species of Sus in those areas where sympatry occurs (e.g. with S. barbatus in the Malaysian Peninsular and Sumatra, and with S. verrucosus on Java).
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Management Requirements: Management usually is aimed at reducing population size (and thus environmental damage) through hunting or live-trapping/relocation, but in Florida efforts have been made to prevent depletion of hog populations in areas with heavy hunting pressure. See Sweeney and Sweeney (1982), Wood and Barret (1979).

See Choquenot et al. (1990) for information on the use of the anticoagulant warfarin for feral pig control. Hone and Stone (1989) compared pig management in Australia (used warfarin) and in Hawaii (used exclusion fencing, hunting, snaring, trapping); in Hawaii, eradiacation was achieved in some areas.

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Needs: Woodward and Sponenberg (1992) identified Ossabaw Island pigs as important stores of genetic variation.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Sus scrofa carries parasitic infections transmissible to humans through eating undercooked pork and through contact, including trichinosis, cysticercosis, and brucellosis. Both domesticated and wild pigs are also quite aggressive and a surprising number of injuries results from interactions with pigs, primarily in domestic settings.

Introduced, feral populations of Sus scrofa are responsible for tremendous environmental damage worldwide. Their broad dietary habits, extremely destructive behaviors, and aggression make them one of the most destructive introduced species across the globe. Wild pigs destroy native vegetation as they dig for food, travel in herds, and create wallows. They will eat native animals, such as ground nesting birds and their eggs. Wild pigs may also act as crop pests.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (causes disease in humans ); crop pest; causes or carries domestic animal disease

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Pigs are an integrated part of the diets of numerous human cultures. Pigs mature faster than other domesticated ungulates, have larger litters, and can feed on human garbage, making them efficient and valuable parts of many agricultural systems. Humans have taken advantage of their acute sense of smell for a variety of tasks. For instance, they have been used to find truffles, underground fungi used in French cuisine. In ancient Egypt they were used for "treading the seed." Their hoofs created holes perfect in size and depth for planting seeds. The Egyptians exploited this ability and used Sus scrofa extensively during planting seasons. Wild pigs (boars) are also hunted for sport. Miniature breeds of domestic pig have become popular as pets.

(Hopf, 1979)

Positive Impacts: pet trade ; food ; body parts are source of valuable material; produces fertilizer

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Economic Uses

Comments: Detrimental to crops and native vegetation in some areas. Rooting reduces ground cover and leaf litter (Singer et al. 1984). Factor in spread of exotic plants. Disease reservoir (Wood and Barret 1979).

Commonly hunted for food and sport; largest legal harvests in Florida (average of 56,000/year in 1970s), California (about 32,000/year in mid-1970s), and Hawaii (about 10,000/year) (Sweeney and Sweeney 1982, Wood and Barret 1979).

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Risks

Species Impact: Destructive to native fauna on islands (Wiewandt 1977, Wiley 1985, Johnson 1988). At Welder Wildlife Refuge, Texas, feral hogs may have been involved in reducing herd and group size of peccaries (Ilse and Hellgren 1995).

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Wikipedia

Wild boar

This article is about the wild mammal. For other uses, see Wild boar (disambiguation).
"Boar" redirects here. For other uses, see Boar (disambiguation).
"Wild pig" redirects here. For other uses, see Wild pig (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Feral pig.

The wild boar (Sus scrofa), also known as the wild swine[3] or Eurasian wild pig[4] is a suid native to much of Eurasia, North Africa and the Greater Sunda Islands. Human intervention has spread its range further, thus making the species one of the widest ranging mammals in the world, as well as the most widely spread suiform.[4] Its wide range, high numbers and adaptability mean that it is classed as least concern by the IUCN.[1] The animal probably originated in South-East Asia during the Early Pleistocene,[5] and outcompeted other suid species as it spread throughout the Old World.[6]

As of 2005, up to 16 subspecies are recognised, which are divided into four regional groupings based on skull height and lacrimal bone length.[2] The species lives in matriarchal societies consisting of young males, intrarelated females and their young. Fully grown males are usually solitary outside of the breeding season.[7] The grey wolf is the wild boar's main predator throughout most of its range except in the Far East, where it is replaced by the tiger.[8] It has a long history of association with humans, having been the ancestor of most domestic pig breeds and a big game animal for millennia.

Terminology[edit]

As true wild boars went extinct in Britain before the development of modern English, the same terms are often used for both true wild boar and pigs, especially large or semi-wild ones. The English 'boar' stems from the Old English bar, which is thought to be derived from the West Germanic *bairaz, of unknown origin.[9] Boar is sometimes used specifically to refer to males, and may also be used to refer to male domesticated pigs, especially breeding males that have not been castrated.

Sow, the traditional name for a female, again comes from Old English and Germanic; it stems from proto-Indo-European, and is related to the Latin sus and Greek hus and more closely to the modern German Sau. The young may be called piglets.

The animals' species name scrofa is Latin for 'sow'.[10] In hunting terminology, boars are given different designations according to their age:[11]

Local and indigenous names[edit]

Taxonomy and evolution[edit]

Skull of Sus strozzii (Museo di Storia Naturale di Firenze), a Pleistocene suid that was outcompeted by S. scrofa.

MtDNA studies indicate that the wild boar originated from islands in South-East Asia such as Indonesia and the Philippines, and subsequently spread onto mainland Eurasia and North Africa.[5] The earliest fossil finds of the species come from both Europe and Asia, and date back to the Early Pleistocene.[17] By the late Villafranchian, S. scrofa largely displaced the related S. strozzii, a large, possibly swamp-adapted suid ancestral to the modern S. verrucosus throughout the Eurasian mainland, restricting it to insular Asia.[6] Its closest wild relative is the bearded pig of Malacca and surrounding islands.[3]

Subspecies[edit]

As of 2005,[2] 16 subspecies are recognised which are divided into four regional groupings:

  • Western: Includes S. s. scrofa, S. s. meridionalis, S. s. algira, S. s. attila, S. s. lybicus and S. s. nigripes. These subspecies are typically high-skulled (though lybicus and some scrofa are low-skulled), with thick underwool and (excepting scrofa and attila) poorly developed manes.[18]
  • Indian: Includes S. s. davidi and S. s. cristatus. These subspecies have sparse or absent underwool, with long manes and prominent bands on the snout and mouth. While cristatus is high-skulled, davidi is low-skulled.[18]
  • Eastern: Includes S. s. sibiricus, S. s. ussuricus, S. s. leucomystax, S. s. riukiuanus, S. s. taivanus and S. s. moupinensis. These subspecies are characterised by a whitish streak extending from the corners of the mouth to the lower jaw. With the exception of ussuricus, most are high-skulled. The underwool is thick, except in moupinensis, and the mane is largely absent.[18]
  • Indonesian: Represented solely by S. s. vittatus, which is characterised by its sparse body hair, lack of underwool, fairly long mane, a broad reddish band extending from the muzzle to the sides of the neck.[18] It is the most basal of the four groups, having the smallest relative brain size, more primitive dentition and unspecialised cranial structure.[19]
Wild boar (left) and domestic pig (right) skulls. Note the greatly shortened facial region of the latter.[24]

Domestication[edit]

A male domestic pig-wild boar cross, Neufchâteau, Belgium.

With the exception of domestic pigs in Timor and Papua New Guinea (which appear to be of Sulawesi warty pig stock), the wild boar is the ancestor of most pig breeds.[19][25] Archaeological evidence suggests that pigs were domesticated from wild boar as early as 13,000–12,700 BC in the Near East in the Tigris Basin[26] being managed in the wild in a way similar to the way they are managed by some modern New Guineans.[27] Remains of pigs have been dated to earlier than 11,400 BC in Cyprus. Those animals must have been introduced from the mainland, which suggests domestication in the adjacent mainland by then.[28] There was also a separate domestication in China which took place about 8000 years ago.[29][30] DNA evidence from sub-fossil remains of teeth and jawbones of Neolithic pigs shows that the first domestic pigs in Europe had been brought from the Near East. This stimulated the domestication of local European wild boar resulting in a third domestication event with the Near Eastern genes dying out in European pig stock. Modern domesticated pigs have involved complex exchanges, with European domesticated lines being exported in turn to the ancient Near East.[31][32] Historical records indicate that Asian pigs were introduced into Europe during the 18th and early 19th centuries.[29] Domestic pigs tend to have much more developed hindquarters than their wild boar ancestors, to the point where 70% of their body weight is concentrated in the posterior, which is the opposite of wild boar, where most of the muscles are concentrated on the head and shoulders.[33]

Physical description[edit]

Dentition, as illustrated by Charles Knight.

The wild boar is a bulky, massively built suid with short and relatively thin legs. The trunk is short and massive, while the hindquarters are comparatively underdeveloped. The region behind the shoulder blades rises into a hump, and the neck is short and thick, to the point of being nearly immobile. The animal's head is very large, taking up to one third of the body's entire length.[3] The structure of the head is well suited for digging. The head acts as a plow, while the powerful neck muscles allow the animal to upturn considerable amounts of soil:[34] it is capable of digging 8–10 cm (3.1–3.9 in) into frozen ground and can upturn rocks weighing 40–50 kg (88–110 lb).[8] The eyes are small and deep-set, and the ears long and broad. The species has well developed canine teeth, which protrude from the mouths of adult males. The middle hooves are larger and more elongated than the lateral ones, and are capable of quick movements.[3] The animal can run at a maximum speed of 40 km/h and jump at a height of 140–150 cm (55–59 in).[8] Sexual dimorphism is very pronounced in the species, with males being typically 5-10% larger and 20-30% heavier than females. Males also sport a mane running down the back, which is particularly apparent during autumn and winter.[35] The canine teeth are also much more prominent in males, and grow throughout life. The upper canines are relatively short and grow sideways early in life, though gradually curve upwards. The lower canines are much sharper and longer, with the exposed parts measuring 10–12 cm (3.9–4.7 in) in length. In the breeding period, males develop a coating of subcutaneous tissue, which may be 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) thick, extending from the shoulder blades to the rump, thus protecting vital organs during fights. Males sport a roughly egg-sized sack near the opening of the penis, which collects urine and emits a sharp odour. The purpose of this is not fully understood.[3]

Skeleton, as illustrated by Richard Lydekker.
A European wild boar piglet, painted by Hans Hoffman in 1578. Note the stripes, a characteristic feature of piglets.

Adult size and weight is largely determined by environmental factors; boars living in arid areas with little productivity tend to attain smaller sizes than their counterparts inhabiting areas with abundant food and water. In most of Europe, males average 75–100 kg (165–220 lb) in weight, 75–80 cm (30–31 in) in shoulder height and 150 cm (59 in) in body length, whereas females average 60–80 kg (130–180 lb) in weight, 70 cm (28 in) in shoulder height and 140 cm (55 in) in body length. In Europe's Mediterranean regions, males may reach average weights as low as 50 kg (110 lb) and females 45 kg (99 lb), with shoulder heights of 63–65 cm (25–26 in). In the more productive areas of Eastern Europe, males average 110–130 kg (240–290 lb) in weight, 95 cm (37 in) in shoulder height and 160 cm (63 in) in body length, while females weigh 95 kg (209 lb), reach 85–90 cm (33–35 in) in shoulder height and 145 cm (57 in) in body length. In Western and Central Europe, the largest males weigh 200 kg (440 lb) and females 120 kg (260 lb). In Eastern Europe, large males can reach brown bear-like sizes, weighing 270 kg (600 lb) and measuring 110–118 cm (43–46 in) in shoulder height. Some adult males in Ussuriland and Manchuria have been recorded to weigh 300–350 kg (660–770 lb) and measure 125 cm (49 in) in shoulder height. Adults of this size are generally immune from wolf predation.[36] Such giants are rare in modern times, due to past overhunting preventing animals from attaining their full growth.[3]

The winter coat consists of long, coarse bristles underlaid with short brown downy fur. The length of these bristles varies along the body, with the shortest being around the face and limbs and the longest running along the back. These back bristles form the aforementioned mane prominent in males, and stand erect when the animal is agitated. Colour is highly variable; specimens around Lake Balkhash are very lightly coloured, and can even be white, while some boars from Belarus and Ussuriland can be black. Some subspecies sport a light coloured patch running backwards from the corners of the mouth. Coat colour also varies with age, with piglets having light brown or rusty-brown fur with pale bands extending from the flanks and back.[3]

The wild boar produces a number of different sounds which are divided into three categories:

  • Contact calls: Grunting noises which differ in intensity according to the situation.[37] Adult males are usually silent, while females frequently grunt and piglets whine.[3] When feeding, boars express their contentment through purring. Studies have shown that piglets imitate the sounds of their mother, thus different litters may have unique vocalisations.[37]
  • Alarm calls: Warning cries emitted in response to threats.[37] When frightened, boars make loud huffing ukh! ukh! sounds or emit screeches transcribed as gu-gu-gu.[3]
  • Combat calls: High-pitched, piercing cries.[37]

Its sense of smell is very well developed, to the point that the animal is used for drug detection in Germany.[38] Its hearing is also acute, though its eyesight is comparatively weak,[3] lacking colour vision[38] and being unable to recognise a standing human 10–15 metres away.[8]

Social behaviour and life cycle[edit]

Boars are typically social animals, living in female-dominated sounders consisting of barren sows and mothers with young lead by an old matriarch. Male boars leave their sounder at the age of 8–15 months, while females either remain with their mothers or establish new territories nearby. Subadult males may live in loosely knit groups, while adult and elderly males tend to be solitary outside the breeding season.[7][a]

Central European wild boar (S. s. scrofa) piglets suckling, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

The breeding period in most areas lasts from November to January, though most mating only lasts a month and a half. Prior to mating, the males develop their subcutaneous armour, in preparation for confronting rivals. The testicles double in size and the glands secrete a foamy yellowish liquid. Once ready to reproduce, males travel long distances in search of a sounder of sows, eating little on the way. Once a sounder has been located, the male drives off all young animals and persistently chases the sows. At this point, the male fiercely fights potential rivals.[3] A single male can mate with 5-10 sows.[8] By the end of the rut, males are often badly mauled and have lost 20% of their body weight. The gestation period varies according to the age of the expecting mother. For first time breeders, it lasts 114–130 days, while it lasts 133–140 days in older sows. Farrowing occurs between March and May, with litter sizes depending on the age and nutrition of the mother. The average litter consists of 4-6 piglets, with the maximum being 10-12.[3] The piglets are whelped in a lair made up of twigs, grasses and leaves, as they have limited thermoregulation. Should the mother die prematurely, the piglets are adopted by the other sows in the sounder.[40]

Newborn piglets weigh around 600-1,000 grams, lacking underfur and bearing a single milk incisor and canine on each half of the jaw.[3] There is intense competition between the piglets over the most milk-rich nipples, as the best fed young grow faster and have stronger constitutions.[40] The piglets do not leave the lair for their first week of life. Should the mother be absent, the piglets lie closely pressed to each other. By two weeks of age, the piglets begin accompanying their mother on her journeys. Should danger be detected, the piglets take cover or stand immobile, relying on their camouflage to keep them hidden. The neonatal coat fades after three months, with adult colouration being attained at eight months. Although the lactation period lasts 2.5-3.5 months, the piglets begin displaying adult feeding behaviours at the age of 2–3 weeks. The permanent dentition is fully formed by 1–2 years. With the exception of the canines in males, the teeth stop growing during the middle of the fourth year. The canines in old males continue to grow throughout their lives, curving strongly as they age. Sows attain sexual maturity at the age of one year, with males attaining it a year later. However, estrus usually first occurs after two years in sows, while males begin participating in the rut after 4–5 years, as they are not permitted to mate by the older males.[3] The maximum lifespan in the wild is 10–14 years, though few specimens survive past 4–5 years.[41] Boars in captivity have lived for 20 years.[8]

Ecology[edit]

Habitat and sheltering behaviour[edit]

Wild boar frequently wallow in mud, possibly to regulate temperature or remove parasites

The wild boar inhabits a diverse array of habitats from boreal taigas and deserts.[3] In mountainous regions, it can even occupy alpine zones, occurring up to 1,900 metres in the Carpathians, 2,600 metres in the Caucasus and up to 3,600-4,000 metres in the mountains in Central Asia and Kazakhstan.[3] In order to survive in a given area, wild boars require a habitat fulfilling three conditions: heavily brushed areas providing shelter from predators, water for drinking and bathing purposes and an absence of regular snowfall.[42] The main habitats favoured by boars in Europe are deciduous and mixed forests, with the most favourable areas consisting of forest composed of oak and beech enclosing marshes and meadows. In the Białowieża Forest, the animal's primary habitat consists of well developed, broad-leaved and mixed forests, along with marshy mixed forests, with coniferous forests and undergrowths being of secondary importance. Forests made up entirely of oak groves and beech are used only during the fruit-bearing season. This is in contrast to the Caucasian and Transcaucasian mountain areas, where boars will occupy such fruit-bearing forests year-round. In the mountainous areas of the Russian Far East, the species inhabits nutpine groves, hilly mixed forests where Mongolian oak and Korean pine are present, swampy mixed taiga and coastal oak forests. In Transbaikalia, boars are restricted to river valleys with nutpine and shrubs. Boars are regularly encountered in pistachio groves in winter in some areas of Tajikistan and Turkmenia, while in spring they migrate to open deserts; boar have also colonised deserts in several areas they have been introduced to.[43][42][3] Wild boar rest in shelters, which contain insulating material like spruce branches and dry hay. These resting places are occupied by whole families (though males lie separately), and are often located in the vicinity of streams, in swamp forests, in tall grass or shrub thickets. Boars never defecate in their shelters, and will cover themselves with soil and pine needles when irritated by insects.[8]

Diet[edit]

Male Indian boar (S. s. cristatus) feeding on a chital carcass, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka.

The wild boar is a highly versatile omnivore, whose diversity in choice of food rivals that of humans.[34] Its foods can be divided into four categories:

A 50 kg (110 lb) boar needs around 4,000-4,500 calories of food per day, though this required amount increases during winter and pregnancy,[34] with the majority of its diet consisting of food items dug from the ground like underground plant material and burrowing animals.[3] Acorns and beechnuts are invariably its most important food items, as they are rich in the carbohydrates necessary for the buildup of fat reserves needed to survive lean periods.[34] In Western Europe, underground plant material favoured by boars includes bracken, willow herb, bulbs, meadow herb roots and bulbs, and the bulbs of cultivated crops. Such food is favoured in early spring and summer, but may also be eaten in autumn and winter during beechnut and acorn crop failures. Should regular wild foods become scarce, boars will eat tree bark and fungi, as well as visit cultivated potato and artichoke fields.[3] Boars of the vittatus subspecies in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java differ from most other populations by their primarily frugivorous diet, which consists of 50 different fruit species, especially figs, thus making them important seed dispersers.[4] The wild boar can consume numerous genera of poisonous plants without ill effect, including Aconitum, Anemone, Calla, Caltha, Ferula, and Pteridium.[8]

Boars may occasionally prey on small vertebrates like newborn deer fawns and leporids and galliform chicks.[34] Boars inhabiting the Volga Delta and near some lakes and rivers of Kazakhstan have been recorded to feed extensively on fish like carp and Caspian roach. Boars in the former area will also feed on cormorant and heron chicks, bivalved molluscs, trapped muskrats and mice.[3] There is at least one record of a boar killing and eating a bonnet macaque in southern India's Bandipur National Park, though this may have been a case of intraguild predation, brought on by interspecific competition for human handouts.[44]

Predators[edit]

Boar confronting a tiger (1886), as illustrated by Robert Armitage Sterndale.

Piglets are vulnerable to attack from medium-sized felids like lynx, jungle cats and snow leopards and other carnivorans like brown bears and yellow-throated martens.[3]

The grey wolf is the main predator of wild boar throughout most of its range. A single wolf can kill around 50-80 boars of differing ages in one year.[3] In Italy[45] and Belarus' Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, boars are the wolf's primary prey, despite an abundance of alternative, less powerful ungulates.[45] Wolves are particularly threatening during the winter, when deep snow impedes the boars' movements. In the Baltic regions, heavy snowfall can allow wolves to eliminate boars from an area almost completely. Wolves primarily target piglets and subadults, and only rarely attack adult sows. Adult males are usually avoided entirely.[3] Dholes may also prey on boars, to the point of keeping their numbers down in northwestern Bhutan, despite there being many more cattle in the area.[46]

Leopards are predators of wild boar in the Caucasus, Transcaucasia, the Russian Far East, India, China,[47] and Iran. In most areas, boars constitute only a small part of the leopard's diet. However, in Iran's Sarigol National Park, boars are the second most frequently targeted prey species after mouflon, though adult individuals are generally avoided, as they are above the leopard's preferred weight range of 10–40 kg (22–88 lb).[48]

Boars of all ages were once the primary prey of tigers in Transcaucasia, Kazakhstan, Middle Asia and the Far East up until the late 19th century. In modern times, tiger numbers are too low to have a limiting effect on boar populations. A single tiger can systematically destroy an entire sounder by preying on its members one by one, before moving on to another herd. Tigers have been noted to chase boars for longer distances than with other prey. In two rare cases, boars were reported to gore a small tiger and a tigress to death in self-defense.[49] In the Amur region, wild boars are one of the two most important prey species for tigers alongside the Manchurian wapiti, with the two species collectively comprising roughly 80% of the felid's prey.[50] In Sikhote Alin, a tiger can kill 30-34 boars a year.[8] Studies of tigers in India indicate that boars are usually secondary in preference to various cervids and bovids,[51] though when boars are targetted, healthy adults are caught more frequently than young and sick specimens.[52]

Range[edit]

Reconstructed range[edit]

The species originally occurred in North Africa and much of Eurasia; from the British Isles to Korea and the Sunda Islands. The northern limit of its range extended from southern Scandinavia to southern Siberia and Japan. Within this range, it was only absent in extremely dry deserts and alpine zones. It was once found in North Africa along the Nile valley up to Khartum and north of the Sahara. The species occurs on a few Ionian and Aegean Islands, sometimes swimming between islands.[14] The reconstructed northern boundary of the animal's Asian range ran from Lake Ladoga (at 60°N) through the area of Novgorod and Moscow into the southern Urals, where it reached 52°N. From there, the boundary passed Ishim and farther east the Irtysh at 56°N. In the eastern Baraba steppe (near Novosibirsk) the boundary turned steep south, encircled the Altai Mountains, and went again eastward including the Tannu-Ola Mountains and Lake Baikal. From here the boundary went slightly north of the Amur River eastward to its lower reaches at the Sea of Okhotsk. On Sakhalin, there are only fossil reports of wild boar. The southern boundaries in Europe and Asia were almost invariably identical to the sea shores of these continents. It is absent in the dry regions of Mongolia from 44–46°N southward, in China westward of Sichuan and in India north of the Himalayas. It is absent in the higher elevations of Pamir and Tien Shan, though they do occur in the Tarim basin and on the lower slopes of the Tien Shan.[3]

Present range[edit]

In recent centuries, the range of wild boar has changed dramatically, largely due to hunting by humans and more recently because of captive wild boar escaping into the wild. Prior to the 20th century, boar populations had declined in numerous areas, with British populations probably becoming extinct during the 13th century.[53] In Denmark, the last boar was shot at the beginning of the 19th century, and in 1900 they were absent in Tunisia and Sudan and large areas of Germany, Austria, and Italy. In Russia they were extirpated in wide areas in the 1930s.[3] The last boar in Egypt reportedly died on 20 December 1912 in the Giza Zoo, with wild populations having disappeared around 1894-1902. Prince Kamal el Dine Hussein attempted to repopulate Wadi El Natrun with boars of Hungarian stock, but they were quickly exterminated by poachers.[12]

A revival of boar populations began in the middle of the 20th century. By 1950 wild boar had once again reached their original northern boundary in many parts of their Asiatic range. By 1960, they reached Leningrad and Moscow, and by 1975 they were to be found in Archangelsk and Astrakhan. In the 1970s they again occurred in Denmark and Sweden, where captive animals escaped and now survive in the wild. In England, wild boar populations re-established themselves in the 1990s, after escaping from specialist farms that had imported European stock.[53]

Status in Britain[edit]

Wild boar were apparently already becoming rare by the 11th century, since a 1087 forestry law enacted by William the Conquerer punishes through blinding the unlawful killing of boar. Charles I attempted to reintroduce the species into the New Forest, though this population was exterminated during the Civil War. A similar attempt was made in Dorsetshire's Bere Wood, though these were again exterminated after one specimen injured a horse belonging to Nimrod.[54]

Between their medieval extinction and the 1980s, when wild boar farming began, only a handful of captive wild boar, imported from the continent, were present in Britain. Occasional escapes of wild boar from wildlife parks have occurred as early as the 1970s, but since the early 1990s significant populations have re-established themselves after escapes from farms; the number of which has increased as the demand for wild boar meat has grown. A 1998 MAFF (now DEFRA) study on wild boar living wild in Britain confirmed the presence of two populations of wild boar living in Britain; one in Kent/East Sussex and another in Dorset.[53] Another DEFRA report, in February 2008,[55] confirmed the existence of these two sites as 'established breeding areas' and identified a third in Gloucestershire/Herefordshire; in the Forest of Dean/Ross on Wye area. A 'new breeding population' was also identified in Devon. There is another significant population in Dumfries and Galloway. Populations estimates were as follows:

  • The largest population, in Kent/East Sussex, was estimated at approximately 200 animals in the core distribution area.
  • The second largest, in Gloucestershire/Herefordshire, was estimated to be in excess of 100 animals. This may now be the largest population as it is expanding rapidly.
  • The smallest, in west Dorset, was estimated to be fewer than 50 animals.
  • Since winter 2005/6 significant escapes/releases have also resulted in animals colonising areas around the fringes of Dartmoor, in Devon. These are considered as an additional single 'new breeding population' and currently estimated to be up to 100 animals.

Population estimates for the Forest of Dean are disputed as at the time that the DEFRA population estimate was 100, a photo of a boar sounder in the forest near Staunton with over 33 animals visible was published, and at about the same time over 30 boar were seen in a field near the original escape location of Weston under Penyard many miles away. In early 2010 the Forestry Commission embarked on a cull,[56] with the aim of reducing the boar population from an estimated 150 animals to 100. By August it was stated that efforts were being made to reduce the population from 200 to 90, but that only 25 had been killed.[57] The failure to meet cull targets was confirmed in February 2011.[58]

Wild boar have crossed the River Wye into Monmouthshire Wales. Iolo Williams the BBC Wales wildlife expert attempted to film Welsh boar in late 2012.[59] Many other sightings, across the UK, have also been reported.[60] The effects of wild boar on the UK's woodlands were discussed with Ralph Harmer of the Forestry Commission on the BBC Radio's Farming Today radio programme in 2011. The programme prompted activist writer George Monbiot to propose a thorough population study, followed by the introduction of permit-controlled culling.[61]

Wild boar are known to be competent swimmers, capable of covering long distances. In 2013, one boar was reported to have completed the seven mile swim from France to Alderney in the Channel Islands, before being shot and incinerated.[62]

Introduction to North America[edit]

While domestic pigs, both captive and feral (popularly termed "razorbacks"), have been in North America since the earliest days of European colonization, it wasn't until the 19th century that pure wild boar were introduced into the New World. The suids were released into the wild by wealthy landowners as big game animals. The initial introductions took place in fenced enclosures, though several escapes occurred, with the escapees sometimes intermixing with already established feral pig populations.

The first of these introductions occurred in New Hampshire in 1890. Thirteen wild boar from Germany were purchased by Austin Corbin from Carl Hagenbeck, and released into a 9,500 hectare game preserve in Sullivan County. Several of these boars escaped, though they were quickly hunted down by locals. Two further introductions were done since the original stocking, with several escapes taking place due to breaches in the game preserve's fencing. These escapees have ranged widely, with some specimens having been observed crossing into Vermont.[63]

In 1902, 15-20 wild boar from Germany were released into a 3,200 hectare estate in Hamilton County, New York. Several specimens escaped six years later, dispersing into the William C. Whitney Wilderness Area, with their descendents surviving for at least 20 years.[63]

The most successful boar introduction in the US took place in western North Carolina in 1912, when 13 boars of undetermined European origin were released into two fenced enclosures in a game preserve in Hooper Bald, Graham County. Most of the specimens remained in the preserve for the next decade, until a large-scale hunt caused the remaining animals to break through their confines and escape. Some of the boars migrated to Tennessee, where they intermixed with both free ranging and feral pigs in the area. In 1924, a dozen Hooper Bald wild pigs were shipped to California and released in a property between Carmel Valley and the Los Padres National Forest. These hybrid boar were later used as breeding stock on various private and public lands throughout the state, as well as in other states like Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, West Virginia and Mississippi.[63]

Several wild boars from Leon Springs and the San Antonio, Saint Louis and San Diego Zoos were released in the Powder Horn Ranch in Calhoun County in 1939. These specimens escaped and established themselves in surrounding ranchlands and coastal areas, with some crossing the Espiritu Santo Bay and colonising Matagorda Island. Descendents of the Powder Horn Ranch boars were later released onto San José Island and the coast of Chalmette, Louisiana.[63]

Wild boar of unknown origin were stocked in a ranch in Edwards Plateau in the 1940s, only to escape during a storm and hybridise with local feral pig populations, later spreading into neighbouring counties.[63]

Starting in the mid-80s, several boars purchased from the San Diego Zoo and Tierpark Berlin were released into the United States. A decade later, more specimens from farms in Canada and Białowieża Forest were let loose. In recent years, wild pig populations have been reported in 44 states within the US, most of which are likely wild boar-feral hog hybrids. Pure wild boar populations may still be present, but are extremely localised.[63]

Diseases and parasites[edit]

Wild boars are known to host at least 20 different parasitic worm species, with maximum infections occurring in summer. Young animals are vulnerable to helminths like Metastrongylus, which are consumed by boars through earthworms, and cause death by parasitising the lungs. Wild boar also carry parasites known to infect humans, including Gastrodiscoides, Trichinella spiralis, Taenia solium, and Balantidium coli. Wild boar in southern regions are frequently infested with ticks (Dermacentor, Rhipicephalus, and Hyalomma) and hog lice. The species also suffers from blood-sucking flies, which it escapes by bathing frequently or hiding in dense shrubs.[3]

Swine plague spreads very quickly in wild boar, with epizootics being recorded in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Belarus, the Caucasus, the Far East, Kazakhstan, and other regions. Foot-and-mouth disease can also take on epidemic proportions in boar populations. The species occasionally, but rarely contracts Pasteurellosis, hemorrhagic septicemia, tularemia and anthrax. Wild boar may on occasion contract swine erysipelas through rodents or hog lice and ticks.[3]

Relationships with humans[edit]

In Culture[edit]

Upper Paleolithic cave painting, Altamira, Spain. This is the earliest known depiction of the species.[64]

The wild boar features prominently in the cultures of Indo-European people, many of which saw the animal as embodying warrior virtues. Cultures throughout Europe and Asia Minor saw the killing of a boar as proof of one's valor and strength. Virtually all heroes in Greek mythology fight or kill a boar at one point. The demigod Herakles' third labour involves the capture of the Erymanthian Boar, Theseus slays the wild sow Phaea, and a disguised Odysseus is recognised by his handmaiden Eurycleia by the scars inflicted on him by a boar during a hunt in his youth.[65] To the mythical Hyperboreans, the boar represented spiritual authority.[64] Several Greek myths use the boar as a symbol of darkness, death and winter. One example is the story of the youthful Adonis, who is killed by a boar and is permitted by Zeus to depart from Hades only during the spring and summer period. This theme also occurs in Irish and Egyptian mythology, where the animal is explicitly linked to the month of October, therefore autumn. This association likely arose from aspects of the boar's actual nature. Its dark colour was linked to the night, while its solitary habits, proclivity to consume crops and nocturnal nature were associated with evil.[66] The foundation myth of Ephesus has the city being built over the site where prince Androklos of Athens killed a boar.[67] Boars were frequently depicted on Greek funerary monuments alongside lions, representing gallant losers who have finally met their match, as opposed to victorious hunters as lions are. The theme of the doomed, yet valorous boar warrior also occurred in Hittite culture, where it was traditional to sacrifice a boar alongside a dog and a prisoner of war after a military defeat. The boar as a warrior also appears in Scandinavian, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon culture, with its image having been frequently engraved on helmets, shields and swords. According to Tacitus, the Baltic Aesti featured boars on their helmets, and may have also worn boar masks. The boar and pig were held in particularly high esteem by the Celts, who considered them to be their most important sacred animal. Some Celtic deities linked to boars include Moccus and Veteris. It has been suggested that some early myths surrounding the Welsh hero Culhwch involved the character being the son of a boar god.[65] Nevertheless, the importance of the boar as a culinary item among Celtic tribes may have been exaggerated in popular culture by the Asterix series, as wild boar bones are rare among Celtic archaeological sites, and the few that occur show no signs of butchery, having probably been used in sacrificial rituals.[68] The boar also appears in Vedic mythology. A story present in the Brāhmaṇas has Indra slaying an avaricious boar, who has stolen the treasure of the asuras, then giving its carcass to Vishnu, who offered it as a sacrifice to the gods. In the story's retelling in the Charaka Samhita, the boar is described as a form of Prajāpti, and is credited with having raised the earth from the primeval waters. In the Rāmāyaṇa and the Purāṇas, the same boar is portrayed as an avatar of Vishnu.[69]

Herakles brings Eurystheus the Erymanthian boar, as depicted on a black-figure amphora (ca. 550 BC) from Vulci.

In Japanese culture, the boar is widely seen as a fearsome and reckless animal, to the point that several words and expressions in Japanese referring to recklessness include references to boars. The boar is the last animal of the oriental zodiac, with people born during the year of the pig being said to embody the boar-like traits of determination and impetuosity. Among Japanese hunters, the boar's courage and defiance is a source of admiration, and it is not uncommon for hunters and mountain people to name their sons after the animal (猪). Boars are also seen as symbols of fertility and prosperity; in some regions, it is thought that boars are drawn to fields owned by families including pregnant women, and hunters with pregnant wives are thought to have greater chances of success when boarhunting. The animal's link to prosperity was illustrated by its inclusion on the ¥10 note during the Meiji period, and it was once believed that a man could become wealthy by keeping a clump of boar hair in his wallet.[70]

In the folklore of the Mongol Altai Uriankhai tribe, the wild boar was associated with the watery underworld, as it was thought that the spirits of the dead entered the animal's head, to be ultimately transported to the water.[71] Prior to the conversion to Islam, the Kyrgyz people believed that they were descended from boars, and thus did not eat pork. In Buryat mythology, the forefathers of the Buryats descended from heaven and were nourished by a boar.[72] In China, the boar is the emblem of the Miao people.[64]

The boar (sanglier) is frequently displayed in English, Scottish and Welsh heraldry. As with the lion, the boar is often shown as armed and langued. As with the bear, Scottish and Welsh heraldry displays the boar's head with the neck cropped, unlike the English version which retains the neck.[73] The white boar served as the badge of King Richard III of England, who distributed it among his northern retainers during his tenure as Duke of Gloucester.[74]

As a game animal and food source[edit]

Main article: Boar hunting
Wild boar haunches and trophy, Umbria, Italy.

Humans have been hunting boar for millennia, with the earliest artistic depictions of such activities dating back to the Upper Paleolithic.[65] The animal was seen as a source of food among the Ancient Greeks, as well as a sporting challenge and source of epic narratives. The Romans inherited this tradition, with one of its first practitioners being Scipio Aemilianus. Boar hunting became particularly popular among the young nobility during the 3rd century BC as preparation for manhood and battle. A typical Roman boarhunting tactic involved surrounding a given area with large nets, then flushing the boar with dogs and immobilising it with smaller nets. The animal would then be dispatched with a venabulum, a short spear with a pair of barbs at the base of the blade. More than their Greek predecessors, the Romans extensively took inspiration from boarhunting in their art and sculpture. With the ascension of Constantine the Great, boarhunting took on Christian allegorical themes, with the animal being portrayed as a "black beast" analogous to the dragon of Saint George. Boarhunting continued after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, though the Germanic tribes considered the red deer to be a more noble and worthy quarry. The post-Roman nobility hunted boar as their predecessors did, but primarily as training for battle rather than sport. It was not uncommon for medieval hunters to deliberately hunt boars during the breeding season, when the animals were more aggressive. During the Renaissance, when deforestation and the introduction of firearms reduced boar numbers, boarhunting became the sole prerogative of the nobility, one of many charges brought up against the rich during the German Peasants' War and the French Revolution.[75] During the mid-20th century, 7,000-8,000 boars were caught in the Caucasus, 6,000-7,000 in Kazakhstan, and about 5,000 in Central Asia during the Soviet period, primarily through use of dogs and beats.[3]

Wild boar can thrive in captivity, though piglets grow slowly and poorly without their mothers. Products derived from wild boar include meat, hide and bristles.[3] Apicius devotes a whole chapter to the cooking of boar meat, providing ten recipes involving roasting, boiling and what sauces to use. The Romans usually served boar meat with garum.[76] Boar's head was the centrepiece of most medieval Christmas celebrations among the nobility.[77] Although growing in popularity as a captive-bred source of food, the wild boar takes longer to mature than most domestic pigs, and is usually smaller and produces less meat. Nevertheless, wild boar meat is leaner and healthier than pork,[78] being of higher nutritional value and having a much higher concentration of essential amino acids.[79] Most meat-dressing organisations agree that a boar carcass should yield 50 kg (110 lb) of meat on average. Large specimens can yield 15–20 kg (33–44 lb) of fat, with some giants yielding 30 kg (66 lb) or more. A boar hide can measure 300 dm2, and can yield 350-1000 grams of bristle and 400 grams of underwool.[3]

Conflicts[edit]

Boars rooting for food in an urban environment, Grudziądz, Poland.

Boars can be damaging to agriculture. Populations living on the outskirts of towns or farms can dig up potatoes and damage melons, watermelons and maize. They generally only encroach upon farms when natural food is scarce. In the Belovezh forest for example, 34-47% of the local boar population will enter fields in years of moderate availability of natural foods. While the role of boars in damaging crops is often exaggerated,[3] cases are known of boar depredations causing famines, as was the case in Hachinohe, Japan in 1749, where 3,000 people died of what became known as the 'wild boar famine'. Still within Japanese culture, the boar's status as vermin is expressed through its title as "King of Pests" and the popular saying (addressed to young men in rural areas) "When you get married, choose a place with no wild boar."[70][80] In Central Europe, farmers typically repel boars through distraction or fright, while in Kazakhstan it is usual to employ guard dogs in plantations. Although large boar populations can play an important role in limiting forest growth, they are also useful in keeping pest populations such as june bugs under control.[3]

Land disturbed by a boar sounder

The growth of urban areas and corresponding decline in natural boar habitats has lead to some sounders entering human habitations in search of food. As in natural conditions, sounders in peri-urban areas are matriarchal, though males tend to be much less represented, and adults of both sexes can be up to 35% heavier than their forest-dwelling counterparts. As of 2010, at least 44 cities in 15 countries have experienced problems of some kind relating to the presence of habituated wild boar.[81] Actual attacks on humans are rare, but can be serious, resulting in multiple penetrating injuries to the lower part of the body. They generally occur during the boars' rutting season from November–January, in agricultural areas bordering forests or on paths leading through forests. The animal typically attacks by charging and pointing its tusks towards the intended victim, with most injuries occurring on the thigh region. Once the initial attack is over, the boar steps back, takes position and attacks again if the victim is still moving, only ending once the victim is completely incapacitated.[82][83]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ It is from the male boar's solitary habits that the species gets its name in numerous Romance languages. Although the Latin word for "boar" was aper, the French sanglier and Italian cinghiale derive from singularis porcus, which is Latin for "solitary pig".[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Oliver, W. & Leus, K. (2008). Sus scrofa. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 6 March 2013. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
  2. ^ a b c Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao Heptner, V. G. ; Nasimovich, A. A. ; Bannikov, A. G. ; Hoffman, R. S. (1988) Mammals of the Soviet Union, Volume I, Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Libraries and National Science Foundation, pp. 19-82
  4. ^ a b c Oliver, W. L. R. et al. 1993. The Eurasian Wild Pig (Sus scrofa). In Oliver, W. L. R., ed., Pigs, Peccaries, and Hippos - 1993 Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan, 112-121. IUCN/SSC Pigs and Peccaries Specialist Group, ISBN 2-8317-0141-4
  5. ^ a b Chen, K. et al. "Genetic Resources, Genome Mapping and Evolutionary Genomics of the Pig (Sus scrofa)". Int J Biol Sci 2007; 3(3):153-165. doi:10.7150/ijbs.3.153. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v03p0153.htm
  6. ^ a b Kurtén, Björn (1968). Pleistocene mammals of Europe. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. pp. 153-155
  7. ^ a b Marsan & Mattioli 2013, pp. 75–76
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Baskin, L. & Danell, K. (2003), Ecology of Ungulates: A Handbook of Species in Eastern Europe and Northern and Central Asia, Springer Science & Business Media, pp. 15-38, ISBN 3540438041
  9. ^ "Online Etymological Dictionary". Retrieved 2014-10-08. 
  10. ^ "Latin Dictionary and Grammar Resources". Retrieved 2014-10-08. 
  11. ^ Cabanau 2001, pp. 24
  12. ^ a b Osborn, Dale. J.; Helmy, Ibrahim (1980), "The contemporary land mammals of Egypt (including Sinai)", Field Museum of Natural History, pp. 475-477
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Sterndale, R. A. (1884), Natural history of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon, Calcutta : Thacker, Spink, pp. 415-420
  14. ^ a b c d Masseti, M. (2012), Atlas of terrestrial mammals of the Ionian and Aegean islands, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 139-141, ISBN 3110254581
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Giamello, G. (2005), Dizionario Zoologico: Latino, Italiano, Piemontese, Francese, Inglese, Sorì Edizioni, p. 134
  16. ^ a b c d Harting, J. E. (1880), British animals extinct within historic times with some account of British wild white cattle, J. R. Osgood, pp. 77-114
  17. ^ Ruvinsky, A. et al. (2011). "Systematics and evolution of the pig". In: Ruvinsky A, Rothschild MF (eds), The Genetics of the Pig. 2nd ed. CAB Inernational, Oxon. pp. 1-13. ISBN 978-1-84593-756-0
  18. ^ a b c d Groves, C. P. et al. 1993. The Eurasian Suids Sus and Babyrousa. In Oliver, W. L. R., ed., Pigs, Peccaries, and Hippos - 1993 Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan, 107-108. IUCN/SSC Pigs and Peccaries Specialist Group, ISBN 2-8317-0141-4
  19. ^ a b Hemmer, H. (1990), Domestication: The Decline of Environmental Appreciation, Cambridge University Press, pp. 55-59, ISBN 0521341787
  20. ^ Kingdon, J. (1997). The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals. p. 329. Academic Press Limited. ISBN 0-12-408355-2
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h Groves, C. (2008). Current views on the taxonomy and zoogeography of the genus Sus. pp. 15–29 in Albarella, U., Dobney, K, Ervynck, A. & Rowley-Conwy, P. Eds. (2008). Pigs and Humans: 10,000 Years of Interaction. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-920704-6
  22. ^ Scheggi 1999, pp. 86–89
  23. ^ Marsan & Mattioli 2013, pp. 14–15
  24. ^ Clutton-Brock, J. (1999), A Natural History of Domesticated Mammals, Cambridge University Press, pp. 91-99, ISBN 0521634954
  25. ^ The related peccary (Pecari tajacu) has been domesticated in the New World. "Commercial Farming of Collared Peccary: A Large-scale Commercial Farming of Collared Peccary (Tayassu tajacu) in North-eastern Brazil", 2007-4-30, http://pigtrop.cirad.fr/subjects/genetic_and_biodiversity/commercial_farming_of_collared_peccary .
  26. ^ *Sarah M. Nelson Ancestors for the Pigs. Pigs in prehistory. (1998)
  27. ^ Rosenberg M, Nesbitt R, Redding RW, Peasnall BL (1998). Hallan Çemi, pig husbandry, and post-Pleistocene adaptations along the Taurus-Zagros Arc (Turkey). Paleorient, 24(1):25–41.
  28. ^ Vigne, JD; Zazzo, A; Saliège, JF; Poplin, F; Guilaine, J; Simmons, A (2009). "Pre-Neolithic wild boar management and introduction to Cyprus more than 11,400 years ago". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106 (38): 16135–8. doi:10.1073/pnas.0905015106. PMC 2752532. PMID 19706455. 
  29. ^ a b Giuffra, E; Kijas, JM; Amarger, V; Carlborg, O; Jeon, JT; Andersson, L (2000). "The origin of the domestic pig: independent domestication and subsequent introgression". Genetics 154 (4): 1785–91. PMC 1461048. PMID 10747069. 
  30. ^ Jean-Denis Vigne, Anne Tresset and Jean-Pierre Digard (July 3, 2012). History of domestication (Speech). 
  31. ^ BBC News, "Pig DNA reveals farming history" 4 September 2007. The report concerns an article in the journal PNAS
  32. ^ Larson, G; Albarella, U; Dobney, K; Rowley-Conwy, P; Schibler, J; Tresset, A; Vigne, JD; Edwards, CJ et al. (2007). "Ancient DNA, pig domestication, and the spread of the Neolithic into Europe". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104 (39): 15276–81. doi:10.1073/pnas.0703411104. PMC 1976408. PMID 17855556. 
  33. ^ Scheggi 1999, pp. 87
  34. ^ a b c d e Marsan & Mattioli 2013, pp. 70–72
  35. ^ Marsan & Mattioli 2013, pp. 26
  36. ^ Marsan & Mattioli 2013, pp. 28
  37. ^ a b c d Cabanau 2001, pp. 29
  38. ^ a b Cabanau 2001, pp. 28
  39. ^ Scheggi 1999, pp. 20–22
  40. ^ a b Marsan & Mattioli 2013, pp. 83–86
  41. ^ Marsan & Mattioli 2013, pp. 87–90
  42. ^ a b Marsan & Mattioli 2013, pp. 55–58
  43. ^ Long, J. L. (2003), Introduced Mammals of the World: Their History, Distribution and Influence, Cabi Publishing, ISBN 9780851997483
  44. ^ Gupta, S. et al. A wild boar hunting: predation on a bonnet macaque by a wild boar in the Bandipur National Park, southern India. Current Science. Vol. 106, No. 9. (10 May 2014)
  45. ^ a b Marsan & Mattioli 2013, pp. 96–97
  46. ^ Thinley P, Kamler JF, Wang SW, Lham K, Stenkewitz U, et al. (2011) Seasonal diet of dholes (Cuon alpinus) in northwestern Bhutan. Mamm Biol 76: 518–520DOI:10.1016/j.mambio.2011.02.003
  47. ^ Heptner, V. G.; Sludskii, A. A. (1992). Mammals of the Soviet Union: Carnivora (hyaenas and cats), Volume 2. Smithsonian Institution Libraries and National Science Foundation. p. 248-252.
  48. ^ Taghdisi, M. et al. (2013). "Diet and habitat use of the endangered Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) in northeastern Iran". Turkish Journal of Zoologist. 37: 554-561. doi:10.3906/zoo-1301-20
  49. ^ Heptner, V. G.; Sludskii, A. A. (1992). Mammals of the Soviet Union: Carnivora (hyaenas and cats), Volume 2. Smithsonian Institution Libraries and National Science Foundation. p. 174, 185.
  50. ^ Miquelle, Dale G. et al. (1996). "Food habits of Amur tigers in the Sikhote-Alin Zapovednik and the Russian Far East, and implications for conservation". Journal of Wildlife Research 1 (2): 138. 
  51. ^ Ramesh, T.; Snehalatha, V.; Sankar, K. and Qureshi, Qamar (2009). "Food habits and prey selection of tiger and leopard in Mudumalai tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, India". J. Sci. Trans. Environ. Technov. 2 (3): 170–181. 
  52. ^ Schaller, G (1967). The deer and the tiger: a study of wildlife in India. p. 321. 
  53. ^ a b c "Wild boar in Britain". Britishwildboar.org.uk. 21 October 1998. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  54. ^ Bell, T. (1837), A history of Britisch Quadrupeds including the Cetacea, Van Voorst, pp. 360-361
  55. ^ Government supports local communities to manage wild boar. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 19 February 2008
  56. ^ "Wild boar cull is given go ahead". BBC News. 4 January 2010. 
  57. ^ "Forest of Dean rangers battle to meet boar cull target". BBC News. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  58. ^ Cull failing to control wild boar. The Forester. 25 February 2011.
  59. ^ "BBC Wales – Nature – Wildlife – Wild boar". Bbc.co.uk. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  60. ^ "Wild Boar in Britain". Britishwildboar.org.uk. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  61. ^ Monbiot, George (16 September 2011). "How the UK's zoophobic legacy turned on wild boar". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 16 September 2011. I was prompted to write this article by an item I heard on the BBC's Farming Today programme at the beginning of the week. It was an interview with Ralph Harmer, who works for the Forestry Commission, about whether or not the returning boar are damaging our woodlands. I was struck by what the item did not say. Not once did the programme mention that this is a native species. The boar was discussed as if it were an exotic invasive animal, such as the mink or the grey squirrel. [...] Then, once we've found out how many boar, [...] should be culled to allow a gentle expansion but not an explosion, permits to shoot them should be sold, and the money used to compensate farmers whose crops the boar have damaged. Other hunting should be banned. This is how they do it in France. 
  62. ^ "Alderney wild boar that swam from France shot over disease fear". BBC News. 14 November 2013. 
  63. ^ a b c d e f Mayer, J. J. et al. (2009), Wild Pigs: Biology, Damage, Control Techniques and Management, Savannah River National Laboratory Aiken, South Carolina, SRNL-RP-2009-00869
  64. ^ a b c Cabanau 2001, pp. 63
  65. ^ a b c Mallory, J. P. & Adams, D. Q. (1997), Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Taylor & Francis, pp. 426-428, ISBN 1884964982
  66. ^ Scheggi 1999, pp. 14–15
  67. ^ Scheggi 1999, pp. 16
  68. ^ Green, M. (2002), Animals in Celtic Life and Myth, Routledge, p. 46, ISBN 1134665318
  69. ^ Macdonell, A. A. (1898), Vedic Mythology, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., p. 41
  70. ^ a b Knight, J. (2003), Waiting for Wolves in Japan: An Anthropological Study of People-wildlife Relations, Oxford University Press, pp. 49-73, ISBN 0199255180
  71. ^ Pegg, C. (2001), Mongolian Music, Dance, & Oral Narrative: Performing Diverse Identities, University of Washington Press, p. 140, ISBN 0295981121
  72. ^ Holmberg, U. (1927), Mythology of All Races volume 4: Finno-Ugric, Siberian, New York, Cooper Square Publishing Inc. pp. 502-503
  73. ^ Fox-Davies, A. C. (1909), A complete guide to heraldry, London, Edinburgh, T.C. & E.C. Jack, pp. 198-199
  74. ^ Wagner, J. A. (2001) Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses, ABC-CLIO, p. 15, ISBN 1851093583
  75. ^ Scheggi 1999, pp. 9–58
  76. ^ Scheggi 1999, pp. 30–35
  77. ^ Adamson, M. W. (2004), Food in Medieval Times, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 35, ISBN 0313321477
  78. ^ Harris, C. (2009), A Guide to Traditional Pig Keeping, Good Life Press, pp. 26-27, ISBN 1904871607
  79. ^ Strazdina, V. et al. "Nutritional Characteristics of Wild Boar Meat Hunted in Latvia", Foodbalt (2014)
  80. ^ Walker, B. “Commercial Growth and Environmental Change in Early Modern Japan: Hachinohe’s Wild Boar Famine,” The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 60, No. 2 (May, 2001), pp. 331.
  81. ^ Cahill, S., Llimona, F., Cabañeros, L. & Calomardo, F., 2012. "Characteristics of wild boar (Sus scrofa) habituation to urban areas in the Collserola Natural Park (Barcelona) and comparison with other locations". Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 35.2: 221–233.
  82. ^ Manipady, S. et al. (2006), "Death by attack from a wild boar", Journal of clinical forensic medicine 13 (2), 89-91
  83. ^ Gunduz, A. et al. (2007), "Wild Boar Attacks", Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 18, 117-119

Bibliography[edit]

  • Cabanau, Laurent (2001). The Hunter's Library: Wild Boar in Europe. Könemann. ISBN 3-8290-5528-5. 
  • Marsan, Andrea; Mattioli, Stefano (2013). Il Cinghiale (in Italian). Il Piviere (collana Fauna selvatica. Biologia e gestione). ISBN 978-88-96348-178. 
  • Scheggi, Massimo (1999). La bestia nera: Caccia al cinghiale fra mito, storia e attualità (in Italian). Editoriale Olimpia (collana Caccia). ISBN 88-253-7904-8. 

Further reading[edit]

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Feral pig

"Razorback" redirects here. For the whale species, see Fin whale. For other uses, see Razorback (disambiguation).

A feral pig (from Latin fera, "a wild beast") is a pig (Sus scrofa) living in the wild but which has descended from domesticated individuals.

Razorback and wild hog are American colloquialisms, loosely applied to any type of feral domestic pig, wild boar or hybrid in North America; pure wild boar are sometimes called "Russian boar" or "Russian razorbacks". The term "razorback" has also appeared in Australia, to describe feral pigs there.

Definition[edit]

A feral pig is a domestic pig that has escaped or been released into the wild, and is living more or less as a wild animal; or one that is descended from such animals.[1] Zoologists generally exclude from the feral category animals that, although captive, were genuinely wild before they escaped.[2] Accordingly, Eurasian wild boar, released or escaped into habitats where they are not native, such as in North America, are not generally considered feral, although they may interbreed with feral pigs.[3]

In the United Kingdom[edit]

In the UK, wild boar can be farmed under licence, however, it is illegal to release them into the wild. Groups of feral wild boar have been reported in the Scottish Highlands including Invermoriston, near Loch Ness, and between Newtonmore and Laggan. A group believed to be a mix of wild boar and domestic pig that escaped from a farm, have been seen in the Strathnairn area near Inverness; there were worries they would dig up potato crops. Feral wild boar occur elsewhere in the UK according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). It said between 100 and 200 were estimated to be in Kent and East Sussex and about 20 to 30 in West Dorset.[4]

There are established populations of feral wild boar in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. These are often active during the daytime (diurnal behaviour) and are less wary of people. This is in contrast to populations in East Sussex which are nocturnal and wary of people.[5]

The natural habitat of wild boar are woodlands, however, feral populations root and forage in areas where they conflict with human activities, such as in picnic areas, on gold courses, football pitches, village greens, etc.[5][6]

In Australia[edit]

The first recorded release of pigs in Australia was made by Captain James Cook at Adventure Bay, Bruny Island in 1777. This was part of his policy of introducing animals and plants to newly discovered countries. He "carried them (a boar and sow) about a mile within the woods at the head of the bay and there left them by the side of a fresh water brook". The deliberate introduction of pigs into previously pig-free areas seems to have been common. As recently as the early 1970s, pigs were introduced to Babel Island, off the east coast of Flinders Island. These pigs were eradicated by Department of Agriculture staff with local assistance.[7]

One common story about the feral pig population on Flinders Island is that pigs were released when the ship City of Foo Chow went ashore on the northeast coast of the Island in March 1877. On Flinders Island, feral pigs usually invade agricultural areas adjacent to the National Park and east coast swamps. Farmers consider damage caused by the pigs is considered to be minor as it is restricted to rooting in pasture adjacent to scrub-land edges. The total pasture area damaged each year is estimated to be less than 50 ha. Feral pigs are reported to visit paddocks where ewes are lambing but there are no reports (as of 1987) of lambs being killed. However, pigs being omnivores scavenge any carcasses left near the scrub-land. In the Strzelecki National Park on the island, the ecosystem has been severely damaged; extensive rooting in the gullies led to water erosion and loss of regenerating forest plants. Bracken fern (Pteridium esculentum) flourishes in this damaged environment and dominates large areas forming dense stands to about 4 m which prevent light reaching the forest floor.[7]

In 1987, feral pigs were considered to be the most important mammalian pest of Australian agriculture.[7]

In the Americas[edit]

Domestic pigs were first introduced to the Americas in the 16th century.[8]

Christopher Columbus is known to have intentionally released domestic swine in the West Indies during his second voyage to provide future expeditions with a freely available food supply.[citation needed]

Hernando de Soto is known to have introduced Eurasian domestic swine to Florida in 1539,[9] although Juan Ponce de León may have introduced the first pigs into mainland Florida in 1521.[10]

The practice of introducing domestic pigs into the New World continued throughout the exploration periods of the 16th and 17th centuries.[8] The Eurasian wild boar (S. s. scrofa), which originally ranged from Great Britain to European Russia may have also been introduced.[11] By the 19th century, their numbers were sufficient in the Southern United States to become a common game animal: in chapter seven of Mark Twain's late-19th-century book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck tricks his abusive father into thinking he is dead by shooting a wild hog he found in the woods and using the blood to smear around the cabin and escape, and eats the rest.[12]

In South America, during the early 20th century, free-ranging boars were introduced in Uruguay for hunting purposes and eventually crossed the border into Brazil in the 1990s, quickly becoming an invasive species. Licensed private hunting of both feral boars and their hybrids with domestic pigs was authorized from August 2005 on in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul,[13] although their presence as a pest had been already noticed by the press as early as 1994.[14] Releases and escapes from unlicensed farms (established because of increased demand for boar meat as an alternative to pork), however, continued to bolster feral populations, and by mid-2008, licensed hunts had to be expanded to the states of Santa Catarina and São Paulo.[15]

Recently established Brazilian boar populations are not to be confused with long-established populations of feral domestic pigs, which have existed mainly in the Pantanal for more than 100 years, along with native peccaries. The demographic dynamics of the interaction between feral pig populations and those of the two native species of peccaries (collared peccary and white-lipped peccary) is obscure and is being studied presently. The existence of feral pigs could somewhat ease jaguar predation on peccary populations, as jaguars would show a preference for hunting pigs, when they are available.[16]

North America[edit]

Feral pigs are a growing problem in the U.S. and on the southern prairies in Canada.[17] As of 2013, the estimated population of six million feral pigs causes billions of dollars in property damage every year in the U.S., both in wild and agricultural lands. Because pigs forage by rooting for their food under the ground with their snout and tusks, a sounder (group) of feral pigs can damage acres of planted fields in just a few nights.[18] For commercial pig farmers, great concern exists that some of the hogs could be a vector for swine fever to return to the U.S., which has been extinct in America since 1978.

In the early 2000s, the range of feral pigs includes all of the U.S. south of the 36°N. The range begins in the mountains surrounding California and crosses over the mountains, continuing consistently much farther east towards the Louisiana bayous and forests, terminating in the entire Florida peninsula. In the East, the range expands northward to include most of the forested areas and swamps of the Southeast, and from there goes north along the Appalachian Mountains as far as upstate New York, with a growing presence in states bordering West Virginia and Kentucky. Texas has the largest estimated population of 2.6 million feral pigs existing in 253 of its 254 counties.[19] Outside mainland U.S., Hawaii also has feral pigs introduced to Oahu soon after Captain Cook's discovery of Hawaii in 1778,[20] where they predate or eat endangered birds and plants. The population of feral pigs has increased from 2 million pigs ranging over 20 states in 1990, to triple that number 25 years later, ranging over 38 states with new territories expanding north into Oregon, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Hampshire. Some of these feral pigs have mixed with escaped Russian boar that have been introduced for hunters from the early 1990s.[21]

Predators such as bobcats and coyotes may occasionally take feral piglets or weakened animals, but are not large enough to challenge a full-grown boar that can grow to three times their weight. In Florida, feral pigs make up a significant portion of the Florida panther's diet.[22] Because feral pigs are omnivorous, their feeding behaviour disrupts the entire food-chain. Plants have difficulties regenerating from their wallowing as North American flora did not evolve to withstand the destruction caused by rooting pigs, unlike Europe or Asia.[citation needed] Feral pigs in the U.S. eat small animals such as wild turkey poults, toads, turtles and the eggs of reptiles and birds.[23] This can deprive other wildlife that normally would prey upon these important food sources. In some case, other wildlife are out-competed by the feral pigs' higher reproductive rate; a sow can become pregnant as early as 6 months old and give birth to multiple litters of piglets yearly.[24] In the autumn, other animals such as the black bear, compete directly feral pigs as both forage for tree mast (the fruit of forest trees).[25]

In the U.S., the problems caused by feral pigs are exacerbated by the small number of species which predate them. In North America, these large predators would include the gray wolf, cougar, jaguar, red wolf, black bear and the grizzly bear. Unfortunately, each keystone predator presents problems: the jaguar is extirpated from California and the Southwest. The grizzly, while native to most of the American West, is gone from the states that have large feral pig populations, namely Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico; and the species has a very slow reproductive rate. Wolf numbers are small and expected to remain so as they slowly repopulate their range; only one has thus far been recorded as inhabiting California in spite of thousands of square miles of good habitat. The cougar is present in most of the West, but is gone from the East, with no known populations east of Minnesota in the north, and very thin numbers east of Houston in the South. The black bear is both predator and competitor. Programs do exist to protect the weakened numbers of large predators in the US, but it is expected to take a very long time for these animals to naturally repopulate former habitat.[citation needed]

Hunting[edit]

To control feral pig numbers, American hunters have taken to trapping and/or killing as many individuals as they can, especially in Texas. Some have even turned the trapping and killing of razorbacks into small businesses.[26][27] Legal restrictions on methods of hunting are lax, as most state departments of wildlife openly acknowledge feral pigs as an ecological threat and some classify them as vermin. In many states, there is no limit on the number of pigs an individual hunter can kill.

Hunting with dogs is permitted and very common; it has been practiced in the Southeast for generations. Competitions for producing the fastest hog dog are prevalent in the South, with Uncle Earl's Hog Dog Trials in Louisiana being the crown jewel, held every summer since 1995. Preferred scent dogs for catching feral pigs mostly are native breeds, and include the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, the Blue Lacy, all members of the Coonhound family, the Plott Hound, and the Blackmouth Cur; catch dogs typically are American Pit Bull Terriers and their crosses, and American Bulldogs. The method of hunting has little variation and usually the hunter will send out bay dogs trained to chase the pig until it tires and then corner it, then a bigger dog (catch dog) is sent out to catch and hold down the pig (which can get very aggressive) until the hunter arrives to kill it.[citation needed]

No single management technique alone can be totally effective at controlling feral pig populations. Harvesting 66% of the total population per year is required to keep the Texas feral pig populations stable.[28] Best management practices suggest the use of corral traps which have the ability to capture the entire sounder of feral pigs.

Appearances in popular culture[edit]

The razorback serves as an athletic image for the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The current live mascot's name is Tusk, a Russian boar. Fans of the team shout a chant derived from a domestic hog farmers' call.

Razorback is also the title of a 1984 Australian horror film directed by Russell Mulcahy, featuring a murderous and gigantic wild boar terrorizing the Australian outback. Other killer pig films include Pig Hunt (2008) by the late James Isaac and the Korean black comedy Chaw (2009).

An Australian razorback appears in the Disney animated film The Rescuers Down Under (1990). The Razorback is the name of a Space Marine tank in Warhammer 40,000.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cf. "feral". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Lever, C. (1996). "Naturalized birds: Feral, exotic, introduced or alien?". British Birds 89 (8): 367–368. 
  3. ^ John J. Mayer; I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr. (1 March 2008). Wild Pigs in the United States: Their History, Comparative Morphology, and Current Status. University of Georgia Press. pp. 1–3. ISBN 978-0-8203-3137-9. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Wild pigs threaten crops in Strathnairn, councillor says". BBC. 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "British Wild Boar". Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ a b c Statham, M. and Middleton, M. (1987). "Feral pigs on Flinders Island.". Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tasm. 121: 121–124. 
  8. ^ a b "tworiversoutdoorclub.com". tworiversoutdoorclub.com. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  9. ^ Susan L. Woodward; Joyce A. Quinn (30 September 2011). Encyclopedia of Invasive Species: From Africanized Honey Bees to Zebra Mussels. ABC-CLIO. pp. 277–. ISBN 978-0-313-38220-8. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  10. ^ John J. Mayer; I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr. (1 March 2008). Wild Pigs in the United States: Their History, Comparative Morphology, and Current Status. University of Georgia Press. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-0-8203-3137-9. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Scheggi, Massimo (1999). La Bestia Nera: Caccia al Cinghiale fra Mito, Storia e Attualità (in Italian). p. 201. ISBN 88-253-7904-8. 
  12. ^ Twain, Mark (1885). The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Charles L. Webster And Company. 
  13. ^ "INSTRUÇÃO NORMATIVA Nº 71, DE 04 DE AGOSTO DE 2005". SERVIÇO PÚBLICO FEDERAL MINISTÉRIO DO MEIO AMBIENTE INSTITUTO BRASILEIRO DO MEIO AMBIENTE E DOS RECURSOS NATURAIS RENOVÁVEIS. 2009-02-13. 
  14. ^ "Javali: fronteiras rompidas" ("Boars break across the border") Globo Rural 9:99, January 1994, ISSN 0102-6178, pgs.32/35
  15. ^ Cecconi, Eduardo (2009-02-13). "A técnica da caça do javali: Reprodução desordenada do animal é combatida com o abate". Terra de Mauá. 
  16. ^ Furtado, Fred (2009-02-13). "Invasor ou vizinho? Invasor ou vizinho? Estudo traz nova visão sobre interação entre porco-monteiro e seus ’primos’ do Pantanal". Ciencia Hoje. 
  17. ^ Calgary Sun, March 23, 2013
  18. ^ "Feral pigs: Pork, chopped". The Economist. 2013-05-04. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  19. ^ "Coping with Feral Hogs". tamu.edu. 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  20. ^ Downes, Lawrence. "In pursuit of Hawaii’s wily feral pigs | Travel". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  21. ^ Goode, Erica (April 27, 2013). "When One Man’s Game Is Also a Marauding Pest". New York Times. 
  22. ^ "Wild Hogs in Florida : An Overview". Myfwc.com. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  23. ^ "Feral Hogs - Wildlife Enemy Number One". Outdooralabama.com. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  24. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions-Wild Pigs « Coping with Feral Hogs". Feralhogs.tamu.edu. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  25. ^ "Black Bears - Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park Service)". Nps.gov. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  26. ^ Horansky, Andrew (2013-04-26). "High tech hunting for Texas feral hogs | khou.com Houston". Khou.com. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  27. ^ Hawkes, Logan (2013-05-17). "Feral hog control the military way | Livestock content from". Southeast Farm Press. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  28. ^ "Feral Hog Population Growth and Density in Texas". Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. 2012-10-00. Retrieved 2014-11-06. 
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Mexican Creole hairless pig

The Mexican Creole hairless pig is a unique genotype that is believed to have been introduced to Mexico during the Spanish conquest.[1] The genotype is being conserved by researchers of UNAM at the Faculty of veterinary medicine and animal husbandry.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ C Lemus-Flores, R Ulloa-Arvizu, M Ramos-Kuri, F J Estrada and R A Alonso. Genetic analysis of Mexican hairless pig populations. Journal of Animal Science. December 2001
  2. ^ Impacto Social (Text in spanish)


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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Feral hog populations generally are mixture of European wild hogs, recent domestic hogs, and feral hogs (Sweeney and Sweeney 1982); few if any pure European wild boar populations. Corbet & Hill (1992) listed the domestic pig as a separate species, Sus domesticus from Sus scrofa, on grounds of utility.

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