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Wild boar

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Wild boar
Wildboar.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Sus scrofa

Sus scrofa female at zoo.jpg
A wild boar female

The Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) is also known as the wild hog, razor back, and the feral pig. Originally from Eurasia (the combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia), these invasive pigs were brought to America in the 1600s as a food source [2]. Wild Boars can eat practically anything, and have been able to thrive and adapt in many locations. They can now be found in three-fourths of the U.S states, with there being a total of 5 million wild boars nation wide. By spreading diseases and creating damages worth $1.5 billion each year, these pigs are now considered one of the most destructive invasive species in the U.S. [3] There have been many initiatives to get their number under control, but still these wild boars continue to wreak havoc to land owners world wide. [2]

Body Design

A Wild Boars (Sus scrofa) have a long snout with two very sharp tusks.

Wild Boars are dangerous predators to other animals and the environment. The unique body type they posses is the key to their strong survival as a species. A Wild Boar’s body design is powerful and huge, like other boars in the family Sidae. But their body type is unique and different than the others. The average weight for an adult Wild Boar is 180 lb. The adult male weighs around 200-220 lb, while the female is 150-170 lb. Adult Wild Boars will grow to be around 5-6 ft in length, and very large males can grow to be 7 ft long.[4] They have a large size head, and a smaller back end.[5] The color of their coat can vary. The most plain colors are the solid colors: black, red-brown, and white. There can also be spotted coats with these colors. All Wild Boars will have a rough and bristly coat, but there are three specific categories: bristles, underfur, and vibrissae. These groups separate by the different shades and textures.[4] On all Wild Boars the top coat is thick and coarse, but underneath there is a softer layer. Also, the hair running along the ridge of their back is longer than the rest.[5]

Wild boars have projecting tusks that do not stop growing. The upper jaw has two whetters that are shorter than that bottom two on the lower jaw, which are called cutters. They are as deadly as they sound. Because they constantly are being rubbed against the whetters, the cutters are very sharp. They can easily slice through a 3 inch tree root, making them the Wild Boar's main protection, killing mechanism, and scavenging tools.[6]Wild Boars have very poor eyesight, but a long snout that gives them a very acute sense of smell. The snout can grow to be 6 cm long, and is used like a bulldozer to search for food. This is very helpful since Wild Boars are omnivores.[5]

Life Cycle

Wild boar (Sus scrofa) and it's piglets, at the New Forest Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park (Hampshire, England).

The wild Boars have an average life span of 5-20 years, but captivity and hunting could also determine their age. Older male boars are often hunted [7]. Wild boars are viviparous, meaning that their young was developed inside the body and is birthed alive. When a sow (a female wild boar) is ready to breed, she would leave the sounder (a group of 6-30 wild boars) and mate with a male. After fertilization occurs, the sow will go through a gestation period. The gestation period is the time the fetus develops. This period lasts 108 to 120 days. [8]. The next stage is fallowing, which is the birth of the piglets. A sow can breed throughout the year and have two litters a year [9] . The average number a sow can produce is 5-6 piglets, but the maximum is 10-12. New born piglets only weighing 600-1000 grams, are then put in a farrowing nest made of the surrounding vegetation, which is grass, moss, and leaves. This nest was made by the sow. The piglets stay in their nest until they leave to go back to the sounder with their mother. [7]

At the sounder, the mother will stay with her piglets solidly for a few weeks to keep predators always from them. The piglets also start suckling on their mother or on other lactating sows. Although piglets stop weaning (breastfeeding) at 2-3 months [10], they start showing adult feeding behaviors as early as 2-3 weeks [11]. At around this age they also start leaving the nest and exploring. Then at the age of 7 months the wild boars become independent. The sow starts breeding at the age of 10 months, and the male starts breeding at only 5-7 months. Male wild boars are also polygynous, meaning that they mate with several other sows. [12].

video of a sow and her new born babies:

Ecology

A range map of the Wild Boar's (Sus scrofa) native land (green) and the land that they've been introduced to (blue) --JCatey21 (talk)

The wild boars native land extends from western Europe, across to Japan, and down to the rainforests in Indonesia.[10] They have been spotted in 13 different National Park services. They have also been seen in many different state parks as well. Wild Boars do not live in areas above the snow line or in areas below freezing temperatures in the winter. Boars prefer coverage such as dense brush and moist vegetation but may also live in forests, open ranges, fields, or pastures. In hot weather, wild boars will spend most of their time near ponds, streams, springs, or in shaded areas near bodies of water to stay cool.[13] Now, they can be found almost all around the world and can be seen in many different countries.[10]

Wild boars are omnivores but 90% of their diet consists of leaves, grasses, berries, fruits, protein-rich nuts (mainly acorns), and underground roots and bulbs that they pick up with theirs hard snouts. They will almost eat anything that will fit in their mouth. They will eat things such as eggs, mice, lizards, worms, snakes,[10] insects and even insect larvae.[14] Wild boars will also finish off any left over dead animal laying on the ground.[10] They are also capable of praying on lambs, baby goats, and calves.[13] Their diet may change depending on the time of year and the weather conditions. Because wild boars are nocturnal, they do almost or all their hunting and eating during the night. They usually sleep around 12 hours a day. Their main predators are tigers, leopards, lynx's, bears, and humans but their predators may very depending on their location.[10] Wild boars are also prone to many different parasitic worm species and deceases.[15]

Invasive Species

The Wild Boar's (Sus scrofa) fast reproduction rate causes the population to constantly increase.

Location and Method of Introduction

Invasive Wild Boars in the United States are massively found on the southeastern side in areas ranging from Texas to Florida and up to Virginia but also, many can be found in other states such as California, Georgia and Hawaii.[13] Wild Boars are native to Eurasia. They were first introduced as an imported food source, but then escaped from domestication. [16] Some were also introduced in many states to be hunted year round.[17]

Environmental Impact

Rooting is the most common damage Wild Boars pose on the environment. Rooting is the destruction of pastures and crops. A similar problem is the damage they do to watering holes and ponds for livestock. They also harm fragile plant communities and can decimate an entire lawn or golf course in one night. They also spread diseases such as Cholera, swine brucellosis, trichinosis, bovine tuberculosis, foot and mouth disease, African swine fever, and pseudorabies that may be transmitted to livestock [18] Farmers lose millions of dollars due to the masses of Wild Boars. They cause an estimated 1.5 billion dollars worth of damage nationwide per year.[17]

Control Methods While some states send teams of trackers to hunt and kill these invasive Wild Boar packs, other states try to avoid assembling forces to address the problems. Some states have only a couple thousand boars, but bigger states such as Texas have as many as multiple million. With such great in numbers and the fast reproduction rate, about 70 percent the population has to be killed to keep the population from growing. This is nearly impossible.[17] Some methods of control are trapping,poison, birth control, and even shooting them from helicopters in some states such as Texas. [2] There are also many Wild Boar ranches in Texas that let hunters come in and hunt the mass amounts of boars.[19]

References

  1. Sus scrofa Wikispecies. Web. last-modified October 31, 2015. Unknown Author.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Can Wild Pigs Ravaging the U.S. Be Stopped? Scientific American. Web. last accessed December 2, 2015.unknown author
  3. Main, Douglas. Feral Pigs Going Hog-Wild in US Live Science. Web. Published April 09, 2013.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Cathey, Jim. Physical Characteristics of Feral Hogs eXtension. Accessed November 16, 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Coyote, Kai. Wild Boar a-z-animals. Accessed November 16, 2015.
  6. Suwannee River Ranch Wild Boar Appearance Suwannee River Ranch. Accessed November 16, 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Goulding, Martin. All you need to know about wild boar British wild boar. Web. last updated April 19, 2012.
  8. Gestation Wikipedia. Web. last updated September 9, 2015. unknown author.
  9. Wickline, Kristin. Sus scrofa Wild Boar Animal Diversity Web. Web. last accessed November 17, 2015.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 wild boar a-z animals. Web. published in 2008. unknown author.
  11. wild boar Wikipedia. Web. last updated on November 16, 2015. unknown author
  12. Wickline, Kristin. Wild Boar BioKIDS. Web. last updated November 16, 2015.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Wild Pigs Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management. Web. accessed November 12, 2015. Unknown Author.
  14. Jacobs, Kathy. Wild Pig Info Mississippi State University. Web. last-modified June 27, 2013.
  15. Wild Boar Wikipedia. Web. last modified November 16, 2015. Unknown Author
  16. Wild Boar USDA. Web. last updated November 18, 2015. unknown author.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Fears, Darryl. Virginia Acts to Reduce Population of Wild Pigs The Washington Post. Web. Published November 24, 2013.
  18. Hygnstrom, Scott. WILD PIGS Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management. Accessed December 1, 2015.
  19. Boar Creek Ranch Blue Dock Media. Web. Accessed December 2, 2015. Unknown Author