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Wild Boar

Sus scrofa

The wild boar lives in forests, prefers wet areas and is an omnivore. Its wedge-shaped head helps the wild boar to break through brush quickly. Good sense of hearing and smell. A muscular snout aids in foraging. Active at dusk, dawn and night, wild boars rest during the day in undergrowth or in shallow hollows they have dug out for themselves.

Description
Nose-to-tail length 110 -180cm; tail 15 - 30cm; weight 50 -180kg; shoulder height up to 115cm; life span 20 - 30 years; coat brown to black, piglets brown with white stripes; males have larger canines than females. Form similar to that of the domestic pig.

Distribution
Sixteen subspecies in Europe, South to northern Africa, Asia including Japan and some islands in the East Indies. In Austria, healthy growth of populations and enlargement of range has been observed.

Endangerment and Conservation Status
Not endangered/"least concern".

Behaviour
Wild boars dig for roots, fruits (acorns, chestnuts), worms and insect larvae. But they also eat animals including ground-nesting birds, frogs, snakes and rodents as large as muskrats, and occasionally, carrion. Their digging activities loosen up the forest floor. Mud baths (wallowing) then rubbing up against trees helps remove parasites. As good swimmers, wild boars are well adapted to life in wetland forests. The females (sows) live with their young (piglets) in groups (sounders) while males (boars) tend to be loners. During mating season (November to January), vicious battles may take place among boars. Boars use their large canines (tusks) to slash at opponents, but the wild boar's thick body tissue generally protects it from life-threatening injuries. In March-April, females give birth to a litter of three to twelve piglets in a type of nest dug into the ground. In contrast to other hoofed animals, wild boars nurse their young while lying down. Sows with young piglets defend their young aggressively and may attack those who come too near – even humans. At six months the young are independent and after ten months they have lost their stripes and are uniformly brown. During their second year of life, they are known in German as "Überläufer", which translates roughly as "renegades".

Special Characteristics
Since time immemorial, wild boars have been important game in Europe. The Germanic tribes revered the gods Freya, who rode the holy boar Hildesvini ("Battle Swine") and Frey, whose boar Gullinbursti ("Golden Mane") illuminated the darkness.
In the Donau-Auen National Park, the population is regulated by hunting. This management measure is necessary for ecological reasons having to do with game, as well as to enable the natural regeneration of the riparian forest.