Sus scrofa attila Thomas, 1912 (juvenile)
Famille : Suidae
Common names: Wild boar, Squeaker (0-10 months) [En], Sanglier, Laie (♀), Marcassin (0-10 months) [Fr], Wild zwijn [Nl], Wildschwein [De], Cinghiale [It], Jabalí [Es], Αγριόχοιρος, Αγριογούρουνο [Gr], Bayağı yaban domuzu [Tu]
IUCN Status: LC (Least Concern)
Rapoltu Mare, HUNEDOARA ● Romania
Description: The wild boar is a bulky, massively built suid with short and relatively thin legs. The trunk is short and massive, while the hindquarters are comparatively underdeveloped. The region behind the shoulder blades rises into a hump, and the neck is short and thick, to the point of being nearly immobile. The animal’s head is very large, taking up to one third of the body's entire length. The structure of the head is well suited for digging. The head acts as a plow, while the powerful neck muscles allow the animal to upturn considerable amounts of soil. The eyes are small and deep-set, and the ears long and broad. The middle hooves are larger and more elongated than the lateral ones, and are capable of quick movements. The animal can run at a maximum speed of 40 km/h and jump at a height of 140–150 cm.
Sexual dimorphism is very pronounced in the species, with males being typically 5-10% larger and 20-30% heavier than females. Males also sport a mane running down the back, which is particularly apparent during autumn and winter. The canine teeth are also much more prominent in males, and grow throughout life. The upper canines are relatively short and grow sideways early in life, though gradually curve upwards. The lower canines are much sharper and longer. In the breeding period, males develop a coating of subcutaneous tissue, which may be 2–3 cm thick, extending from the shoulder blades to the rump, thus protecting vital organs during fights. Males sport a roughly egg-sized sack near the opening of the penis, which collects urine and emits a sharp odour.
Adult size and weight is largely determined by environmental factors; boars living in arid areas with little productivity tend to attain smaller sizes than their counterparts inhabiting areas with abundant food and water. In most of Europe, males average 75–100 kg. In Europe's Mediterranean regions, males may reach average weights as low as 50 kg. In the more productive areas of Eastern Europe, males average 110–130 kg in weight, and large males can reach brown bear-like sizes, weighing 270 kg. Some adult males in Ussuriland and Manchuria have been recorded to weigh 300–350 kg. Adults of this size are generally immune from wolf predation. Such giants are rare in modern times, due to past overhunting preventing animals from attaining their full growth.
The winter coat consists of long, coarse bristles underlaid with short brown downy fur. Colour is highly variable; specimens around Lake Balkhash are very lightly coloured, and can even be white, while some boars from Belarus and Ussuriland can be black. Some subspecies sport a light coloured patch running backwards from the corners of the mouth. Coat colour also varies with age, with piglets having light brown or rusty-brown fur with pale bands extending from the flanks and back.
Its sense of smell is very well developed. Its hearing is also acute, though its eyesight is comparatively weak, lacking colour vision and being unable to recognise a standing human 10–15 metres away.
Taxonomy As of 2005, 16 subspecies are recognised, which are divided into four regional groupings:
These subspecies are typically high-skulled (though lybicus and some scrofa are low-skulled), with thick underwool and (excepting scrofa and attila) poorly developed manes.
• S. s. scrofa Linnaeus, 1758 – A medium-sized, dark to rusty-brown haired subspecies with long and relatively narrow lacrimal bones – Northern Spain, northern Italy, France, Germany, Benelux, Croatia, Belarus, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and possibly Albania
• S. s. meridionalis Forsyth Major, 1882 – Mediterranean boar – Andalusia, Corsica and Sardinia
• S. s. algira Loche, 1867 – North African boar – Sometimes considered a junior synonym of S. s. scrofa, but smaller and with proportionally longer tusks – Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco
• S. s. attila Thomas, 1912 – Carpathian boar – A large-sized subspecies with long lacrimal bones and dark hair, though lighter-coloured than S. s. scrofa – Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Balkans, Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Caspian coast, Asia Minor and northern Iran
• S. s. lybicus Gray, 1868 – Anatolian boar – A small, pale and almost maneless subspecies – Transcaucasia, Turkey, Levant, Israel and former Yugoslavia
• S. s. S. s. nigripes Blanford, 1875 – A light coloured subspecies with black legs which, though varied in size, it is generally quite large, the lacrimal bones and facial region of the skull are shorter than those of S. s. scrofa and S. s. attila – Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, eastern Tien Shan, western Mongolia, Kashgar and possibly Afghanistan and southern Iran
These subspecies have sparse or absent underwool, with long manes and prominent bands on the snout and mouth. While S. s. cristatus is high-skulled, S. s. davidi is low-skulled.
• S. s. davidi Groves, 1981 – Central Asian boar – A small, long-maned and light brown subspecies – Pakistan and northwest India to southeastern Iran
• S. s. cristatus Wagner, 1839 – Indian boar – A long-maned subspecies with a coat that is brindled black unlike S. s. davidi, it is more lightly built than S. s. scrofa. Its head is larger and more pointed than that of S. s. scrofa, and its ears smaller and more pointed. The plane of the forehead is straight, while it is concave in S. s. scrofa – India, Nepal, Burma, western Thailand and Sri Lanka
These subspecies are characterised by a whitish streak extending from the corners of the mouth to the lower jaw. With the exception of S. s. ussuricus, most are high-skulled. The underwool is thick, except in S. s. moupinensis, and the mane is largely absent.
• S. s. sibiricus Staffe, 1922 – Trans-baikal boar – The smallest subspecies of the former Soviet region, it has dark brown, almost black hair and a light grey patch extending from the cheeks to the ears. The skull is squarish and the lacrimal bones short – Baikal, Transbaikalia, northern and northeastern Mongolia
• S. s. ussuricus Heude, 1888 – Ussuri boar – The largest subspecies, it has usually dark hair and a white band extending from the corners of the mouth to the ears. The lacrimal bones are shortened, but longer than those of S. s. sibiricus – Eastern China, Ussuri and Amur
• S. s. leucomystax Temminck, 1842 – A small, almost maneless, yellowish-brown subspecies – All of Japan, save for Hokkaido and the Ryukyu Islands
• S. s. riukiuanus Kuroda, 1924 – A small subspecies – Ryukyu Islands
• S. s. taivanus Swinhoe, 1863 – Formosan boar – A small blackish subspecies – Taiwan
• S. s. moupinensis Milne-Edwards, 1871 – Northern Chinese boar – There are significant variations within this subspecies, and it is possible there actually are several subspecies involved – Coastal China south to Vietnam
S. s. vittatus Boie, 1828 – Banded pig – A small, short-faced and sparsely furred subspecies with a white band on the muzzle. It is the most basal of the four groups, having the smallest relative brain size, more primitive dentition and unspecialised cranial structure. It might be a separate species. – From Peninsular Malaysia, and in Indonesia from Sumatra and Java east to Komodo.
Biology: Boars are typically social animals, living in female-dominated sounders consisting of barren sows and mothers with young led by an old matriarch. Male boars leave their sounder at the age of 8–15 months, while females either remain with their mothers or establish new territories nearby. Subadult males may live in loosely knit groups, while adult and elderly males tend to be solitary outside the breeding season.
The wild boar is a highly versatile omnivore, whose diversity in choice of food rivals that of humans. Their foods can be divided into four categories:
• Rhizomes, roots, tubers and bulbs, all of which are dug up throughout the year in the animal's whole range.
• Nuts, berries, and seeds, which are consumed when ripened and are dug up from the snow when abundant.
• Leaves, bark, twigs, and shoots, along with garbage.
• Earthworms, insects, molluscs, fish, rodents, insectivores, bird eggs, lizards, snakes, frogs, and carrion. Most of these prey items are taken in warm periods.
A 50 kg boar needs around 4,000-4,500 calories of food per day, though this required amount increases during winter and pregnancy.
Pigs are one of four known mammalian species which possess mutations in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor that protect against snake venom. Mongooses, honey badgers, hedgehogs, and pigs all have modifications to the receptor pocket which prevents the snake venom α-neurotoxin from binding. These represent four separate, independent mutations.
Habitat: The wild boar inhabits a diverse array of habitats from boreal taigas to deserts. In mountainous regions, it can even occupy alpine zones, occurring up to 1,900 metres in the Carpathians, 2,600 metres in the Caucasus and up to 3,600-4,000 metres in the mountains in Central Asia and Kazakhstan. In order to survive in a given area, wild boars require a habitat fulfilling three conditions: heavily brushed areas providing shelter from predators, water for drinking and bathing purposes and an absence of regular snowfall. The main habitats favoured by boars in Europe are deciduous and mixed forests, with the most favourable areas consisting of forest composed of oak and beech enclosing marshes and meadows.
Distribution: The species originally occurred in North Africa and much of Eurasia; from the British Isles to Korea and the Sunda Islands. The northern limit of its range extended from southern Scandinavia to southern Siberia and Japan. Within this range, it was only absent in extremely dry deserts and alpine zones. The species occurs on a few Ionian and Aegean Islands, sometimes swimming between islands.
Wikipedia, Wild boar