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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

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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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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Geographic Range

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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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. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • 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.
  • 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

"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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Physical Description

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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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. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • 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.
  • 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. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • 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.
  • 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

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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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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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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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

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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Food Habits

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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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. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • 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.
  • 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

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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Ecosystem Roles

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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Predation

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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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. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • 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.
  • 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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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.
  • W. A. Niering, Terrestrial ecology of Kapingamarangi Atoll, Caroline Islands, Ecol. Monogr. 33(2):131-160, from p. 157 (1963).
  • 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
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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. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • 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.
  • 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

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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Communication and Perception

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 ; acoustic

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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

Lifespan/Longevity

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

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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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); 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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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. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • 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.
  • 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. 1986. Density, Home Range, Habitat Use, and Reproduction in Feral Pigs on Santa Catalina Island. Journal of Mammalogy 67:512-525.
  • 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.
  • 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

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

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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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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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

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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Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

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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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

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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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

Razorback

For other uses, see Razorback (disambiguation).

Razorback and wild hog are Americanisms, loosely applied to any type of feral pig, wild boar or cross in North America. Common wild boar (Sus scrofa scrofa) are sometimes called "Russian boar" or "Russian razorbacks". The term "razorback" has also appeared in Australia, to describe such animals there.

Introduction to the Americas[edit]

Domestic pigs were first introduced to the Americas in the 16th century.[1]

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,[2] although Juan Ponce de León may have introduced the first pigs into mainland Florida in 1521.[3]

The practice of introducing domestic pigs into the New World continued throughout the exploration periods of the 16th and 17th centuries.[1] The Eurasian wild boar (S. s. scrofa), which originally ranged from Great Britain to European Russia may have also been introduced.[4] 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.[5]

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,[6] although their presence as a pest had been already noticed by the press as early as 1994.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9]

21st century[edit]

Feral hogs are a growing problem in the U.S. and on the southern prairies in Canada.[10] As of 2013, the estimated population of six million feral hogs causes billions of dollars in property damage every year in the U.S., both in wild lands and in agricultural ones. Because a swine's natural instinct is to root for tubers and seeds under the ground with its snout and tusks, a sounder of razorbacks can damage acres of potatoes or corn fields in just a few nights.[11] For commercial pig farmers, great concern exists that some of the hogs could be a vector for swine fever to return to the United States, which heretofore has been extinct in America since 1978.

The present range of wild hogs includes all of the United States 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 razorbacks existing in 253 of its 254 counties.[12] Outside the mainland, Hawaii also has trouble with feral pigs introduced to Oahu soon after Captain Cook's discovery of Hawaii in 1778,[13] where they are a menace to very endangered birds and plants they eat voraciously. The population of razorbacks has exploded from only 2 million hogs spread out over 20 states in 1990, to triple that number 25 years later, spread out over 38 states with new territories expanding north into Oregon, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Hampshire, some of them genetically mixing with escaped Russian boar introduced for sportsmen between the early 1990s and the present.[14]

Some aquatic animals, such as alligators and American crocodiles, manage their numbers in the Southern swamps and South Florida, but as reptillian predators, they are impeded by decreasing temperatures in fall and winter. Midlevel predators, such as bobcats and coyotes, may occasionally take 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, razorbacks make up a significant portion of the Florida panther's diet.[15] The introduction of this non-native species wreaks havoc with the entire foodchain as wild hogs are omnivorous. Plants have a difficult time regenerating from their wallowing behaviors as North American flora did not evolve to withstand the onslaught of a rooting pig, unlike Europe or Asia. Small animals like the poults of wild turkeys, toads, and many species of turtles often fall victim to the larger and more aggressive swine, easily dominated and eaten or often consumed as eggs in the case of reptiles and birds.[16] The other wildlife that normally would prey upon these smaller animals are then deprived of important food sources and in some cases outcompeted by the razorbacks' higher reproductive rate: a sow can become pregnant as early as 6 months old and give birth to multiple litters of piglets yearly.[17] Other animals, such as the black bear, compete directly with them in the fall as razorbacks are notorious for consuming tree mast.[18]

Compounding the problem is the shortened list of natural predators available in the United States to suppress razorback numbers. In North America, these large predators would include all subspecies of the gray wolf, the cougar, the jaguar, the red wolf, the 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 huge hog infestations, namely Texas, Arizona, California, and New Mexico and the species has a very slow reproductive rate. Wolf numbers are overall weak 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, as illustrated, 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.

Alarmed at the overall population explosion, American hunters have in recent years taken to trapping and/or killing as many hogs as they can, especially in Texas. Some have even turned the trapping and killing of razorbacks into small businesses.[19][20] Legal restrictions on methods of hunting are fairly lax, as most state departments of wildlife openly acknowledge them as an ecological threat and some classify them as vermin: crossbows, professional-grade bows and arrows, high-powered rifles, semiautomatic pistols or revolvers, and military-grade knives are weapons of choice. Many states do not even have a bag limit.

Hunting with dogs is permitted and very common, and has been practiced in the Southeast for generations. Competitions for who can produce the fastest hog dog are rife 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 his bay dogs to chase the hog until it wears out, then a bigger dog will be sent out to catch and hold down the hog (which can get very aggressive) until the hunter can come and kill it.

No one management technique alone can be totally effective at controlling feral hog populations. Harvest levels of 66% are required to hold Texas feral hog populations steady.[21] Best management practices suggest the use of corral traps which have the ability to capture the entire sounder of feral hogs. Additional legal methods should be used as tools to further reduce feral hog populations in an area.

Appearances in popular culture[edit]

Following a long tradition of wild boar images in European heraldry, 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. Razorback is the name of a boar-like humanoid subspecies in the popular massive muliplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft.

See also[edit]

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Wild boar

"Boar" redirects here. For other uses, see Boar (disambiguation).
"Wild pig" redirects here. For other uses, see Wild pig (disambiguation).
For the German World War II "Wild Boar" night fighter tactic, see Wilde Sau. For the 2013 documentary film, see Wild Boar (film).

Wild boar or wild pig (Sus scrofa) is a species of the pig genus Sus, part of the biological family Suidae. The species includes many subspecies. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig, an animal with which it freely hybridises.[3] Wild boar are native across much of Northern and Central Europe, the Mediterranean region (including North Africa's Atlas Mountains) and much of Asia, including Japan and as far south as Indonesia. Populations have also been artificially introduced in some parts of the world, most notably the Americas and Australasia, where they are regarded as both an important food resource and an environmental threat.[4] Elsewhere, such as England, populations have reestablished themselves after escapes of wild boar from captivity in areas where they had previously been extirpated.[5]

Name[edit]

The term boar is used to denote an adult male of certain species, including domestic pigs. However, for wild boar, it applies to the whole species, including, for example, "wild boar sow" or "wild boar piglet".[6]

Wild boar are also known by various names, including wild hogs or simply boars. In the US, they are more commonly referred to as razorbacks, bush pigs, or European boars.[7]

Physical characteristics[edit]

The skull of a wild boar found at Lan Lo Au, Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park, Hong Kong
Wild boar skeleton

The body of the wild boar is compact; the head is large, the legs relatively short. The fur consists of stiff bristles and usually finer fur. The colour usually varies from dark grey to black or brown, but there are great regional differences in colour; even whitish animals are known from central Asia.[8] During winter the fur is much more dense.

Wild boars vary considerably in size. In exceptionally large specimens, the species can rival the size of the giant forest hog, the largest extant species of wild suid.[9] Adult boars can measure from 90 to 200 cm (35 to 79 in) in length, not counting a tail of 15 to 40 cm (5.9 to 15.7 in), and have a shoulder height of 55 to 110 cm (22 to 43 in).[10][11] As a whole, their average weight is 50–90 kg (110–200 pounds), though boars show a great deal of weight variation within their geographical ranges.[12] Generally speaking, native Eurasian boars follow Bergmann's rule, with smaller boars nearer the tropics and larger, smaller-eared boars in the North of their range. Mature sows from Southeast Asia and southern India may weigh as little as 44 kg (97 lb).[11] In Great Britain, wild boars typically weigh between 68 and 181 kg (150 and 400 lb).[13] In central Italy, their weight usually ranges from 80 to 100 kg (180 to 220 lb) while boars shot in Tuscany have been recorded to weigh up to 150 kg (331 lb). An unusually large French specimen shot in Negremont forest in Ardenne in 1999 weighed 227 kg (550 lb). Carpathian boars have been recorded to reach weights of 200 kg (441 lb). Romanian and Russian boars can reach weights of 300 kg (661 lb), while unconfirmed giants reported in early Russian hunting journals have reportedly weighed up to 320 kg (710 lb).[10][11]

Adult males develop tusks, continuously growing teeth that protrude from the mouth, from their upper and lower canine teeth. These serve as weapons and tools. The upper tusks are bent upwards in males, and are regularly ground against the lower ones to produce sharp edges. The tusks normally measure about 6 cm (2.4 in), in exceptional cases even 12 cm (4.7 in). Females also have sharp canines, but they are smaller, and not protruding like the males' tusks.[14][15] Tigers hunt boars, but avoid tackling mature male boars. In many cases, boars have gored tigers to death in self-defence.[8] Wild boars can be dangerous to humans, especially when they have piglets.

Wild boar piglets are coloured differently from adults, having marbled chocolate and cream stripes lengthwise over their bodies. The stripes fade by the time the piglet is about 6 months old, when the animal takes on the adult's grizzled grey or brown colour (see photo in Reproduction section to compare adult and juvenile colouring).

Behaviour and social structure[edit]

Young wild boar
Indian boar scavenging on chital carcass
Two wild boars in the snow

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

Wild boar are situationally crepuscular or nocturnal, foraging in early morning and late afternoon or at night, but resting for periods during both night and day.[1] They are omnivorous scavengers, eating almost anything they come across, including grass, nuts, berries, carrion, nests of ground nesting birds, roots, tubers, refuse,[16] insects and small reptiles. Wild boar in Australia are also known to be predators of young deer and lambs.[17]

If surprised or cornered, a boar (particularly a sow with piglets) can and will defend itself and its young with intense vigour.[18] The male lowers its head, charges, and then slashes upward with its tusks. The female, whose tusks are not visible, charges with head up, mouth wide, and bites.

Reproduction[edit]

Piglets nursing
Piglets in Ysitien Lemmikki zoo in Jyväskylä, Finland

Sexual activity and testosterone production in males is triggered by decreasing day length, reaching a peak in mid-autumn. The normally solitary males then move into female groups, and rival males fight for dominance, whereupon the largest and most dominant males achieve the most mating. Mating may last over 45 minutes, and is accompanied by pelvic thrusting.[19]

The age of puberty for sows ranges from 6 to 24 months of age depending on environmental and nutritional factors; sexual maturity begins when boars reach a weight of around 30 kg.[4] Pregnancy lasts approximately 115 days and a sow will leave the group to construct a mound-like nest out of vegetation and dirt, 1–3 days before giving birth (farrowing).

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

Litter size is typically four to six piglets but may be smaller for first litter, usually two to three. The largest litters can be up to fourteen piglets. The sex ratio at birth is 1:1. Litter size of wild boars may vary depending on their location. A study in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the US reported a mean litter size of 3.3. A similar study on Santa Catalina Island, California reported a mean litter size of 5.[20] Larger litter sizes have been reported in the Middle East.[1] Piglets weigh 750–1,000 g (1.65–2.20 lb) at birth. Rooting behaviour develops in piglets as early as the first few days of life, and piglets are fully weaned after three to four months. They will begin to eat solid foods such as worms and grubs after about two weeks.[21]

Range[edit]

Reconstructed range[edit]

Wild boar were originally found 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 absent in extremely dry deserts and alpine zones.

A few centuries ago it was found in North Africa along the Nile valley up to Khartum and north of the Sahara. The reconstructed northern boundary of the range in Asia 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 everywhere identical to the sea shores of these continents. In dry deserts and high mountain ranges, the wild boar is naturally absent. So 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 Himalaya. In high altitudes of Pamir and Tien Shan they are also absent; however, at Tarim basin and on the lower slopes of the Tien Shan they do occur.[8]

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. For many years populations dwindled. They probably became extinct in Great Britain in the 13th century.[22] 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.

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 Saint Petersburg 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. (The wild boar population in Sweden was estimated to be around 80,000 in 2006 but grew in excess of 100,000 in a few years). In England, wild boar populations re-established themselves in the 1990s, after escaping from specialist farms that had imported European stock.[22]

Elsewhere, in 1493, Christopher Columbus brought eight hogs to the West Indies. Importation to the American mainland was in the mid-16th century by Hernán Cortés and Hernando de Soto, and in the mid-17th century by Sieur de La Salle. Pure Eurasian boar were also imported there for sport hunting in the early 20th century.[7] Large populations of wild boar also live in Australia, New Zealand and North and South America.[23] In the United States, there are approximately 6 million feral pigs.[24] In the first decade of the 21st century, wild boar escaped from game farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan (Canada) and reproduced rapidly, resulting in bounties offered for pairs of ears. A few years later, population estimates range in the thousands.[25]

Status in Britain[edit]

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.[22]

Another DEFRA report, in February 2008,[26] 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 estimate was 100 a photo of a group of boar 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,[27] 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.[28] The failure to meet cull targets was confirmed in February 2011.[29]

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.[30] Many other sightings, across the UK, have also been reported.[31] 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.[32]

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.[33]

Status in Germany[edit]

Recently, Germany has reported a surge in the wild boar population. According to one study, "German wild boar litters have six to eight piglets on average, other countries usually only about four or five."[34] Boar in Germany are also said to be becoming increasingly 'brazen' and intrude further into cities, for example Berlin.[35]

Subspecies[edit]

A Common wild boar piglet in the Netherlands

Different subspecies can usually be distinguished by the relative lengths and shapes of their lacrimal bones. S. scrofa cristatus and S. scrofa vittatus have shorter lacrimal bones than European subspecies.[36] Spanish and French boar specimens have 36 chromosomes, as opposed to wild boar in the rest of Europe which possess 38, the same number as domestic pigs. Boars with 36 chromosomes have successfully mated with animals possessing 38, resulting in fertile offspring with 37 chromosomes.[37]

Four subspecies groups are generally recognised:[38]

Western races (scrofa group)[edit]

Indian races (cristatus group)[edit]

Female Wild boar from Anaimalai hills, Southern Western Ghats, India
Wild boar from Jim Corbett National Park showing the prominent white muzzle.
Wild boars (Sus scrofa affinis) in Sri Lanka
Indian wild boar (Sus scrofa cristatus) at Ranthambore National Park
  • Indian wild boar Sus scrofa cristatus: A long-maned subspecies with a coat that is brindled black unlike S. s. davidi.[39] More lightly built than European boar. Its head is larger and more pointed than that of the European boar, and its ears smaller and more pointed.[40] The plane of the forehead straight, while it is concave in the European.[40] Occurs from the Himalayas south to central India and east to Indochina (north of the Kra Isthmus).[39]
  • Sus scrofa affinis: This subspecies is smaller than S. s. cristatus and found in southern India and Sri Lanka.[39] Validity questionable.[38]
  • Sus scrofa davidi: A small, long-maned and light brown subspecies from eastern Iran to Gujarat; perhaps north to Tajikistan.[39]

Eastern races (leucomystax group)[edit]

  • Manchurian wild boar Sus scrofa ussuricus: A very large (largest subspecies of the wild boar), almost maneless subspecies with a thick coat that is blackish in the summer and yellowish-grey in the winter.[39] From Manchuria and Korea.[39]
  • Japanese wild boar Sus scrofa leucomystax: A small, almost maneless, yellowish-brown subspecies from Japan (except Hokkaido where the wild boar is not naturally present, and the Ryukyu Islands where replaced by S. s. riukiuanus).[39]
  • Ryukyu wild boar Sus scrofa riukiuanus: A small subspecies from the Ryukyu Islands.[39]
  • Formosan wild boar Sus scrofa taivanus: A small blackish subspecies from Taiwan.[39]
  • Sus scrofa moupinensis: A relatively small and short-maned subspecies from most of China and Vietnam. There are significant variations within this subspecies, and it is possible there actually are several subspecies involved.[39] On the contrary, recent evidence suggests the virtually unknown Heude's pig may be identical to (and consequently a synonym of) wild boars from this region.[41]
  • Siberian wild boar Sus scrofa sibiricus: A relatively small subspecies from Mongolia and Transbaikalia.[39]

Sundaic race (vittatus group)[edit]

  • Banded pig Sus scrofa vittatus: A small, short-faced and sparsely furred subspecies with a white band on the muzzle.[39][42] From Peninsular Malaysia, and in Indonesia from Sumatra and Java east to Komodo.[39] Might be a separate species,[39] and shows some similarities with some other species of wild pigs in south-east Asia.

Domestic pig[edit]

The domestic pig is usually regarded as a subspecies – Sus scrofa domestica – although this is sometimes classified as a separate species: Sus domestica.

Natural predators[edit]

Eurasian lynx eating wild boar piglet. Lynxes are occasional predators of boar piglets.

Wild boar are a main food source for tigers in the regions where they coexist. Tigers typically follow boar groups, and pick them off one by one. Tigers have been noted to chase boars for longer distances than with other prey, though they will usually avoid tackling mature male boars. In many cases, boars have gored tigers to death in self-defense.[8] In the Amur region, wild boars are one of the two most important prey species for the Siberian tiger alongside the Manchurian wapiti, with the two species collectively comprising roughly 80% of the prey selected by these tigers.[43] Studies of Bengal tigers indicate that boars are usually secondary in preference to various cervids and bovids.[44] Boars are also probably an important component of the diet of Sumatran tigers, though their specific significance in the tiger's diet there is not known.[45]

Wolves are also major predators of boars in some areas. Wolves mostly feed on piglets, though adults have been recorded to be taken in Italy, the Iberian peninsula, and Russia. Wolves rarely attack boars head on, preferring to tear at their perineum, causing loss of coordination and massive blood loss. In some areas of the former Soviet Union, a single wolf pack can consume an average of 50–80 wild boars annually.[46] In areas of Italy where the two animals are sympatric, the extent to which boars are preyed upon by wolves has led to them developing more aggressive behaviour toward both wolves and domestic dogs.[10]

Striped hyenas occasionally feed on boars, though it has been suggested that only hyenas from the three larger subspecies present in Northwest Africa, the Middle East, and India can successfully kill them.[47]

Young piglets are important prey for several species, including large snakes, such as the reticulated python, large birds of prey, and various wild felids. In Australia many piglets are killed by dingos. Adults, due to their size, strength, and defensive aggression, are generally avoided as prey. However, they have been taken additionally by mature leopards; large bears (mainly brown bears); and mature crocodiles. All predators of boars are opportunistic and would take piglets given the opportunity. Where introduced outside of their natural range, boars may be at the top of the food chain, but it is possible that they can be taken by predators similar to those in their native Eurasia, such as large snakes, raptors, cats, wolves, and other large predators.[12] The Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo) has been caught on video successfully attacking and killing a wild boar piglet.[48]

Interactions with humans[edit]

Aggression towards humans[edit]

Although wild boars do not generally pose a threat to people, they occasionally attack humans. Due to the clearing of natural boar habitats, the number of interactions, including aggressive ones, between humans and boars has increased. When dealing aggressively with a human, boars will charge at them. Sometimes, these may be bluff charges but, in other cases, violent contact will be made. While the impact of the large, hard-skulled head may cause considerable damage itself, most damage is inflicted by the boar's tusk. When ramming into a person, the boar will slash the tusks upwards, creating sizeable open lacerations on the skin. Due to the height of the boar relative to a human, most wounds are inflicted to the upper legs. Some attacks are provoked, such as when hunters wound a boar which then counterattacks. Male boars become most aggressive during the mating season and may charge at humans at such times. Occasionally, female boars will attack if they feel their piglets are threatened, especially if a human physically comes between them and their young. Although a majority of boar attack victims recover with medical treatment, fatalities do occasionally occur.[49]

Hunting[edit]

The hunt of the Calydonian Boar shown on a Roman frieze (Ashmolean Museum)

In Medieval hunting the boar, like the hart, was a 'beast of venery', the most prestigious form of quarry. It was normally hunted by being harboured, or found by a 'limer', or bloodhound handled on a leash, before the pack of hounds was released to pursue it on its hot scent. The poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight[50] contains a description of a boar hunt, depicting how dangerous the boar could be to the pack hounds, or raches, which hunted it.[51] Medieval hunters used special boar spears (along with polearms and various swords) to hunt wild boar. The distinguishing characteristic of the boar spear is a wide cross guard behind the spearhead to prevent the boar from charging up the haft and goring the spearman.

Emeric of Hungary was intended to become the second King of Hungary, however, in the year 1031 he was killed by a boar while hunting and died at the age of 24.

The ancient Lowland Scottish Clan Swinton is said to have acquired the name Swinton for their bravery and clearing their area of wild boar. The chief's coat of arms and the clan crest allude to this legend, as is the name of the village of Swinewood in the county of Berwick which was granted to them in the 11th century.[citation needed]

Wild boar are still occasionally hunted, especially where not legally protected. The minimum safe calibre for shooting wild boar is generally considered to be .243 Winchester with 85 grain or heavier expanding projectiles, with larger calibres being recommended. Repeating action shotguns loaded with solid shot can also be used. Wild boar are strong, solidly built animals with sharp tusks and a willingness to defend themselves vigorously.[52] Boar are known to charge the hunter after a missed shot or a wound that is not immediately lethal; because of this, some of the earliest bayonets were actually used by boar hunters rather than military forces.[53][54]

Wild boar farming in the UK[edit]

Wild boar farming in Poland

Captive wild boar in Britain are kept in private or public wildlife collections and in zoos, but exist predominantly on farms. Because wild boar are included in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, certain legal requirements have to be met prior to setting up a farm. A licence to keep boar is required from the local council, who will appoint a specialist to inspect the premises and report back to the council. Requirements include secure accommodation and fencing, correct drainage, temperature, lighting, hygiene, ventilation and insurance.

The original British wild boar farm stock was mainly of French origin, but from 1987 onwards, farmers have supplemented the original stock with animals of both west European and east European origin. The east European animals were imported from farm stock in Sweden because Sweden, unlike eastern Europe, has a similar health status for pigs to that of Britain. Currently there is no central register listing all the wild boar farms in the UK; the total number of wild boar farms is unknown.[22]

Commercial use[edit]

In many countries, boar are farmed for their meat, and in France and Italy, for example, boar (sanglier in French, cinghiale in Italian) may often be found for sale in butcher shops or offered in restaurants (although the consumption of wild boar meat has been linked to transmission of Hepatitis E in Japan).[55] In Germany, boar meat ranks among the highest priced types of meat. In certain countries, such as Laos and parts of China, boar meat is considered an aphrodisiac.[56]

Tyrolean style roasted wild boar

The hair of the boar was often used for the production of the toothbrush until the invention of synthetic materials in the 1930s.[57] The hair for the bristles usually came from the neck area of the boar. While such brushes were popular because the bristles were soft, this was not the best material for oral hygiene as the hairs were slow to dry and usually retained bacteria. Today's toothbrushes are made with plastic bristles.

Nepali Sekuwa made using Wild Boar Meat.

Boar hair is used in the manufacture of boar-bristle hairbrushes, which are considered to be gentler on hair – and are much more expensive – than common plastic-bristle hairbrushes. However, among shaving brushes, which are almost exclusively made with animal fibres, the cheaper models use boar bristles, while badger hair is used in much more expensive models.[58]

Boar hair is used in the manufacture of paintbrushes, especially those used for oil painting. Boar bristle paintbrushes are stiff enough to spread thick paint well, and the naturally split or "flagged" tip of the untrimmed bristle helps hold more paint.

Despite claims that boar bristles have been used in the manufacture of premium dart boards for use with steel-tipped darts, these boards are, in fact, made of other materials and fibres – the finest ones from sisal rope.

Mythology, religion, history and fiction[edit]

Deity form of Varaha, Khajuraho, 12th century AD
The Norse boar Gullinbursti with the god Frey, 1901 painting by Johannes Gehrts

In Celtic mythology the boar was sacred to the Gallic goddess Arduinna,[59][60] and boar hunting features in several stories of Celtic and Irish mythology. One such story is that of how Fionn mac Cumhaill ("Finn McCool") lured his rival Diarmuid Ua Duibhne to his death—gored by a wild boar.[citation needed]

The Calydonian Boar (Greek: ὁ Καλυδώνιος κάπρος[61][62] or ὁ Καλυδώνιος ὗς[63]) is one of the monsters of Greek mythology that had to be overcome by heroes of the Olympian age. Sent by Artemis to ravage the region of Calydon in Aetolia because its king failed to honor her in his rites to the gods, it was killed in the Calydonian Hunt, in which many male heroes took part, but also a powerful woman, Atalanta, who won its hide by first wounding it with an arrow. This outraged some of the men, with tragic results. Strabo was under the impression that the Calydonian Boar was an offspring of the Crommyonian Sow vanquished by Theseus.[64]

In the Asterix comic series set in Gaul, wild boar are the favourite food of Obelix whose immense appetite means that he can eat several roasted boar in a single sitting.[65]

Gullinbursti (meaning "Gold Mane or Golden Bristles") is a boar in Norse mythology. Likewise, in most European pagan traditions, the wild boar is associated with male solar deities, such as Endovelicus, Freyr and Apollon,[66] due to the nature of death and rebirth attached to the boar's connection to the earth and necrophagous behaviour.[67]

In Hindu mythology, the third Avatar of Vishnu was Varaha, a wild boar.[68]

Odysseus, the principal protagonist of Homer's epic The Odyssey carried a distinctive scar inflicted by a boar in his youth.

A story from Nevers, which is reproduced in the Golden Legend, states that one night Charlemagne dreamed he was about to be killed by a wild boar during a hunt, but was saved by the appearance of a child, who had promised to save the emperor if he would give him clothes to cover his nakedness. The bishop of Nevers interpreted this dream to mean that the child was Saint Cyricus and that he wanted the emperor to repair the roof of the Cathédrale Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte de Nevers – which Charlemagne duly did.[citation needed]

Folklore, in the Forest of Dean, England, tells of a giant boar, known as the Beast of Dean, which terrorised villagers in the early 19th century.[citation needed]

In the story The Boar by American writer Joe R. Lansdale, a young boy hunts a large boar in East Texas during the Great Depression.

In Tolkien's legendarium of Middle-earth, Folca, the 13th King of Rohan, hunted a great boar and slayed it, but was gored in the process and died of his wounds.[69] The confrontation took place in the woods of Everholt, a name Tolkien derived from Old English eofor, meaning "boar". A more direct application of this Old English in found in Éofor, an early prince of Rohan, although Tolkien knew the name Eofor from the epic of Beowulf.

Heraldry and other symbolic use[edit]

Main article: Boars in heraldry
Coat of Arms of Sauerlach, Germany

The wild boar and a boar's head are common charges in heraldry. It represents what are often seen as the positive qualities of the boar, namely courage and fierceness in battle. The arms of the Campbell of Possil family (see Carter-Campbell of Possil) include the head, erect and erased of a wild boar, as does the crest Mackinnon clan. The arms of the Swinton Family also possess wild boar, as does the coat of arms of the Purcell family.[70]

Scottish heraldic wild boar head.

At least three Roman Legions are known to have had a boar as their emblems: Legio I Italica, Legio X Fretensis and Legio XX Valeria Victrix.

A boar is a long-standing symbol of the city of Milan, Italy. In Andrea Alciato's Emblemata (1584), beneath a woodcut of the first raising of Milan's city walls, a boar is seen lifted from the excavation. The foundation of Milan is credited to two Celtic peoples, the Bituriges and the Aedui, having as their emblems a ram and a boar respectively (Bituricis vervex, Heduis dat sucula signum.); therefore "The city's symbol is a wool-bearing boar, an animal of double form, here with sharp bristles, there with sleek wool," (Laniger huic signum sus est, animálque biforme, Acribus hinc setis, lanitio inde levi). Alciato credits the most saintly and learned Ambrose for his account.[71]

Richard III of England (r. 1483–1485) used the white boar as his personal device and badge. It was also passed to his short-lived son, Edward.[citation needed]

Feral pigs[edit]

Feral pigs in the United States (Cape Canaveral, Florida)

Domestic pigs can escape and quite readily become feral, and feral populations are problematic in several ways. They can cause significant amount of damage to trees and other vegetation and may feed on the eggs of ground-nesting birds and turtles.[72] Feral pigs often interbreed with wild boar, producing descendants similar in appearance to wild boar; these can then be difficult to distinguish from natural or introduced true wild boar. The characterisation of populations as feral pig, escaped domestic pig or wild boar is usually decided by where the animals are encountered and what is known of their history. In New Zealand, for example, feral pigs are known as "Captain Cookers" from their supposed descent from liberations and gifts to Māori by explorer Captain James Cook in the 1770s.[73] New Zealand feral pigs are also frequently known as "tuskers", due to their appearance.

One characteristic by which domestic and feral animals are differentiated is their coats. Feral animals almost always have thick, bristly coats ranging in colour from brown through grey to black. A prominent ridge of hair matching the spine is also common, giving rise to the name razorback in the southern United States, where they are common. The tail is usually long and straight. Feral animals tend also to have longer legs than domestic breeds and a longer and narrower head and snout.

Wild boar/domestic pig hybrid, displayed at Rothschild Museum, Tring, England

A very large swine dubbed Hogzilla was shot in Georgia, United States, in June 2004.[74] Initially thought to be a hoax, the story became something of an internet sensation. National Geographic Explorer investigated the story, sending scientists into the field. After exhuming the animal and performing DNA testing, it was determined that Hogzilla was a hybrid of wild boar and domestic swine.[75] As of 2008, the estimated population of 4 million feral pigs caused an estimated US$800 million of property damage per year in the U.S.[76]

The problematic nature of feral hogs has caused several states in the U.S. to declare feral hogs to be an invasive species. Often, these states will have greatly reduced (or even non-existent) hunting regulations regarding feral hogs. In Missouri, no hunting permit is required for the taking of wild boar; hunters may take as many as they like with any weapon. The Missouri Department of Conservation requests that hunters who encounter feral hogs shoot them on sight.[77] Caution is advised, as feral pigs can use their tusks defensively, and hog hunters consider them dangerous when injured or cornered.[78] Similarly, in Texas, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department allows them to be taken at any time of the year, by any method, with no limit; the only rules are that a person must have a hunting license and permission of the landowner.[79]

At the beginning of the 20th century, wild boar were introduced for hunting in the United States, where they interbred in parts with free roaming domestic pigs. In South America, New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia and other islands, wild boar have also been introduced by humans and have partially interbred with domestic pigs.

In South America, also during the early 20th century, free-ranging boars were introduced in Uruguay for hunting purposes and eventually crossed the border into Brazil sometime during the 1990s, quickly becoming an invasive species, licensed private hunting of both feral boars and hybrids (javaporcos) being allowed from August 2005 on in the Southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul,[80] although their presence as a pest had been already noticed by the press as early as 1994.[81] 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.[82] Such licensed hunts were, however, forbidden in 2010 by IBAMA, which argued the necessity of additional studies for devising a strategy of pest control for boars. Meanwhile, boars and boar crosses were spotted in the State of Rio de Janeiro, where cases of crop raiding were reported in the municipality of Porciuncula. There was also the danger of an escape from an unlicensed farm in Nova Friburgo, which was closed in December 2011, all 316 animals being sent to an abattoir.[83] In October 2010, a rural worker was killed by a boar in Ibiá, in the State of Minas Gerais.

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 a hundred years, along with native peccaries. The demographic dynamics of the interaction between feral pigs populations and those of the two native species of peccaries (Collared Peccary and White-lipped Peccary) is obscure and is being studied presently. It has been proposed that the existence of feral pigs could somewhat ease jaguar predation on peccary populations, as jaguars would show a preference for hunting pigs, when these are available.[84]

Feral hogs can rapidly increase their population. Sows can have up to 10 offspring per litter, and are able to have two litters per year. Each piglet reaches sexual maturity at 6 months of age. They have virtually no natural predators.[85]

Feral pigs removal can restore native Hawaiian rain forest in several years.[86]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d Kingdon, J. (1997). The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press Limited. ISBN 0-12-408355-2
  3. ^ Seward, Liz (4 September 2007). "Pig DNA reveals farming history". BBC News. Retrieved 18 June 2008. 
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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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