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 as much as 38 inches (96 mm). Weight 180-220 pounds (82-100 kg), sometimes as much as 450 pounds (200 kg). Females are considerably smaller.
Feral pigs in Australia and New Zealand are descended from escaped or released domestic animals, and represent many breeds. There are two generally recognized types: The black ones ("razorbacks" or "Captain Cookers") are the result of earlier escapes or liberations, while the multicolored ones are of more recent farmyard origin. Although there is no record of true Eurasian wild boars ever being brought to these countries, razorbacks look very much like them. They are more muscular than domestic pigs, with massive shoulders, smaller hindquarters, narrower backs, longer snouts, longer tusks and smaller, more erect ears. The coat is relatively long and coarse, with a neck mane and cheek whiskers often present. The black hairs may have lighter tips so as to give a grizzled effect. The tail is usually straight with a bushy tip, rather than curly as in domestic pigs. The multicolored pigs vary greatly in appearance, with individuals colored black, reddish, tan, white, or any combination thereof. Body type may be anything from the broad-backed, short-snouted, square-headed, drop-eared, curly-tailed domestic type to something approaching a razorback. The coat is short and not grizzled.
The canine teeth are developed as tusks in both sexes, those of the upper jaw ("grinders") curving upward to lie against, but inside, the straighter lower tusks ("tushes"). The tusks wear against each other, honing the edges sharp.
BEHAVIOR Gregarious, living in family groups, though old boars may be solitary. Breeds mainly in spring and summer, with 1-10 piglets born after 3-1/2 months, of which 3-4 usually survive. Females can breed when 8-10 months old and, under good conditions, can produce two litters in 14 months. Active mornings and afternoons when undisturbed, resting in thick cover during midday and at night; however, becomes nocturnal when harassed. Eats all kinds of vegetable matter, also small animals and carrion. Spends much of its time digging and rooting for edibles, doing considerable damage to the landscape in the process. Requires water for drinking and wallowing. Sense of smell is exceptional, hearing good, eyesight poor. Wary and alert. A fast runner and strong swimmer.
HABITAT Undergrowth or forest at any altitude. Must have water nearby.
DISTRIBUTION Parts of Australia, much of New Zealand, southern parts of the island of New Guinea, and on various other South Pacific islands.
TAXONOMIC NOTES Groves believes that the domestic and feral pig of New Guinea, at one time regarded as a full species, Sus papuensis, is actually a hybrid between the Indonesian wild pig, or banded pig (Sus scrofa vittatus), and the Sulawesi warty pig (S. celebensis).
REMARKS First introduced in New Zealand by French explorer de Surville in 1769, and by Captain Cook in 1773. First introduced in Australia by early colonists from the First Fleet in 1788. It was once believed that pigs had been brought to Australia by Captain Cook, but his meticulous records do not support this.
Farmers and stockmen detest feral pigs, which do great damage by trampling crops and killing and eating young lambs. Pigs are extremely numerous; their numbers in Australia are estimated between 1 million and 1-1/2 million. Many landowners welcome pig shooters who are responsible and well-behaved. Regardless of their lineage, free-ranging pigs are fine game animals that can be rather dangerous at close quarters.