Continuing our series of wild animal attacks, we now turn to wild boars. So, are wild boars dangerous? Are wild boar attacks common?
Now, although in the past such attacks were considered rare, in recent years there has been an uncontrolled growth in the number of wild boar populations. Consequently, there have been some reported cases of wild hog attacks outdoors in the wild, though many of them involved hunters.
Statistics of the Feral Hog Population
you should know
In the study Wild Pig Attacks on Humans published in 2013, John J. Mayer of the Savannah River National Laboratory found that among the wild boar attacks reported, 70% of them occurred between 2000 and 2012, which is quite significant, to say the least.
Most of the attacks occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, about 88%, and the USA had the largest percentage of attacks, followed by India.
Overall, 15% of the boar attacks involved fatalities. The number of fatalities was twice as higher in the case of people that were traveling alone.
Moreover, as of late, they have also started raiding major European cities, looking for food in rubbish bins and jostling tourists. Among the cities affected is Barcelona, where wild boars emerge from Collserola Natural Park and make their way among people in the city.
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Other affected cities include Berlin, Houston, Hong Kong and Rome. Perhaps this problem is also a direct result of the boar’s adaptability. They can thrive pretty much in any type of environment, from semi-arid plains to alpine forests.
They are very dangerous not only because of their aggression but also because they are the carriers of diseases that can be passed on to humans such as tuberculosis, hepatitis E and influenza A. The also cause thousands of accidents on the road each year that can result in serious injuries for drivers.
Below you’ll find some basic information on these animals.
about wild hogs
Alternative name: wild swine, Eurasian wild pig, wild pig
Scientific name: Sus scrofa
Native: Throughout Europe and Asia, introduced into parts of the US in the early 1900’s.
In Australia, Canada, Latin America, and the United States, wild boars have been hybridized in recent decades with feral pigs, and these hybrids have caused many issues.
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Wild boars resemble domestic pigs in appearance, but they seem to be stronger and more long-legged than the latter.
The head of a wild boar is very big and takes up a third of its body.
Wild hogs have short coarse hairs. In terms of color, they have grey-brown fur. Piglets’ fur is ginger-brown with stripes for camouflage. Adult males have strong tusks that protrude from the mouth.
Wild boars can live up to 14 years in the wild. Most of them live in groups that are made up of females and their piglets. Adult males usually live on their own, only coming to the group to mate. They can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.
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In terms of weight, males are usually 20-30% heavier than females. The size and weight of these animals really depend on the region and environment they live in. For instance, in Europe, the average for males is 165-220 pounds and 130-180 pounds for females. In Northeastern Asia males can weigh up to 600 pounds
Wild boar diet
and what they eat
They are nocturnal animals. They search for food at night.
They are omnivores and their diet is comprised of nuts, seeds, roots, acorns, fruit, small reptiles, and rodents. Occasionally, they might eat small mammals and bird eggs.
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of the wild board
Starting with 2005, a total of 16 species are recognized. These 16 subspecies can be divided into 4 regional groups as follows: Western, Indian, Eastern and Indonesian.
Wild boars and the damages
Because of their growing numbers, wild boars can have a negative impact on forest regeneration. This is mainly due to their habit of digging up soil while looking for food, which damages tree seedling survival and growth. The most vulnerable seem to be the longleaf pine seedlings.
Relationship with humans
and what they can result in
The number of boar population has increased throughout the years, but despite that, the species altogether is threatened by habitat loss. And that is because our fellow humans are at fault though all the deforestation that we are conducting and through the growth of settlements. Perhaps their increase in numbers correlated with the destruction of their habitat is what have triggered wild boars to invade cities.
When do they attack humans?
- When they feel cornered or threatened
- To defend themselves against hunters
- To protect its piglets if it’s a female (this is one of the main causes that wild boar attacks occur)
- Usually attacks are more frequent during the wild boars’ rutting season (November-January) in agricultural areas that border forests or on paths that lead to forests
When wild boars attack, they usually charge and try to make its victim trip and fall to the ground. Because of their sharp tusks, humans can suffer injuries, especially in the lower part of the body. If after the initial attack the victim still shows movement, the wild boar will step back and then charge again.
Wild boar attack
And what to do
- Remain calm.
- Keep a safe distance.
- Slowly back away from the wild boar.
- If you have time, try to reach higher ground such as a boulder, car, possibly even climb a tree. But please consider that this might be hard to apply due to the closeness and speed of a wild boar surprise charge.
- When attacked, keep your footing. Try sidestepping quickly to avoid being swung by its tusks.
- If all the above fails, fight back with whatever available at hand (sticks, your bare hands, a knife, a gun) until mauling ends.
- Even when attacked, try to keep your standing position by all means as you can suffer greater injuries once down.
What NOT to do
And what to do
- Do not approach them, under any circumstances; adult boars with piglets are strikingly more sensitive and dangerous, therefore, they should be avoided at all costs.
- Likewise, do not feed them under any circumstances.
- Do not corner them or provoke them in any way.
Honestly, wild boar encounters are the worst for hikers. And that is because boars are the most unpredictable natural predators. However, if you take note of our guide, you should be safe.