Wild Boar - Sus scrofa

Wild Boar Sus scrofa (Sanglier in French) is a large wild pig. The animals themselves are rarely seen as they are intensely secretive and suspicious, but signs of their presence are commonly encountered in the forests and nearby fields.

They range in size from 1 m to 1.6 m (head and body) plus a 15-35 cm tail. They stand 70-90 cm high and weigh anything from 60 kg to 300 kg. Males are slightly bigger than females. Dark blackish brown and bristly, they are formidable looking beasts with large heads and upward pointing tusks, especially the males. The piglets are stripey. They emit a strong smell and are capable of hybridising with domestic pigs.

Signs of Wild Boar rooting in damp scrubby grassland in the Parc de Boussay in April (below).
The species is widely distributed across France. Despite its significant size the animal is astonishingly discreet and not easy to observe. Very wary, they pass the day concealed in dense vegetation and only leave their hiding places in the evening to feed. They eat anything and everything but vegetation is always the dominant foodstuff. They can be the cause of significant localised damage to fields of grain and potatoes. They live in family groups comprised of several females accompanied by their piglets (marcassins in French) under 6 months old, somewhat older young (under 10 months) known in French as betes rousses and young adults up to 2 years old known in French as betes noires. Adult males are solitary.

Mixed deciduous woodland is the preferred habitat, with small lakes, marshes and pasture or arable land nearby. They are essentially an nocturnal animal, but will find a warm sunny place to rest during the day. They love to wallow in mud and it is not uncommon to find a wallow hidden away in the trees in damp places. A large lair will be formed by shallow excavation. If you are lucky you may hear them snorting and they make several warning noises.

Wild Boar footprints in a patch they have rooted up.
You are unlikely to mistake this species for any other. They are one of the most prized hunting targets and many properties are maintained with their conservation (for hunting) in mind. Hunting season is October to February and hunters must belong to a suitable club.
Footprint, Parc de Boussay, July.

Typical habitat - besom heath scrub, known as brande in French, Parc de Boussay, July.

A wallow hidden in the scrub, Parc de Boussay, July.
Sunflower crop protected by electric fencing against wild boar and roe deer depredations.

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