Jabalí (Sp), Wildschwein (G), Sanglier (F). Although a boar is actually a male pig or hog, the term is widely used as a common name for the species.
DESCRIPTION (male) Shoulder height 30-47 inches (76-119 cm). Weight 150-400 pounds (68-181 kg), sometimes as much as 700 pounds (317 kg). Females are somewhat smaller than males and have much smaller tusks.
A medium-sized animal with a thick body, relatively thin legs, a short neck, and a long, pointed head ending in a disklike snout. Coat is dense, bristly hair, brownish-gray in color, sometimes with cheek whiskers and a neck mane. There are no facial warts. Each foot has four toes, the middle two supporting the body, the two lateral toes (false hoofs) higher up and not touching. Canine teeth are usually well-developed, forming tusks. Upper tusks grow outward and backward; the lower ones grow upward and backward, tending to make a circle. Tusks will usually wear against each other, honing sharp edges. Stomach is two-chambered and non-ruminating.
BEHAVIOR Gregarious, living in family groups, though old boars may be solitary. When undisturbed, it is active morning and afternoon, resting midday and at night. Becomes nocturnal when harassed. Eats all kinds of vegetable matter, also small animals and carrion. Sense of smell is very good, hearing good, eyesight only fair. Wary and alert. A fast runner and strong swimmer. Its habitat is undergrowth and forest, at any altitude. Requires water for drinking and wallowing.
HABITAT Woodland. Also agricultural areas with nearby cover.
DISTRIBUTION Most of Europe except the British Isles and Iceland. Not native to Scandinavia, but there are introduced animals in southern Norway and Sweden. For record-keeping purposes, all European populations are considered indigenous.
Outside Europe, the Eurasian wild boar is also native to northern Africa, mainland Asia south of latitude 48°N, and the islands of Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Java, Taiwan, and Honshu (Japan). Introduced in many other parts of the world.
TAXONOMIC NOTES While some authorities recognize no subspecies in Europe, others list as many as seven: scrofa (France and Germany eastward into Belarus), falzfeini (Poland), attila (Transylvania to the Caucasus and Iran), reiseri (Bosnia & Herzegovina), majori (Italy), castilianus (Spain), and meridionalis (Sardinia). We do not separate them.
REMARKS The Eurasian wild boar is a fine game animal, alert, wary and quite dangerous at close quarters.