Wild Boar Facts

Wild Boar Profile

Pigs are some of the most intelligent, sensitive, and powerful animals on the planet, and yet they are also some of the worst-treated and disrespected of the lot.

We use the word “pig” or “boar” as a derogatory term for one another, yet these animals could even teach us a thing or two about toughness and teamwork. 

One species in particular, the wild boar, has survived where many other animals have been driven by humans to extinction, and its adaptability is matched by its brute strength in providing the species with its success.  

These incredible animals have thrived all over the world, yet to this day they are still tormented and killed for fun by people with packs of dogs. 

Wild Boar Facts

Wild Boar Facts Overview

Habitat: Diverse and widespread
Location: Native to much of Eurasia and North Africa; introduced to the Americas and Oceania
Lifespan: 6 to 8 years in the wild
Size: Up to 1.2m (3.9 ft) tall, 2.4 m (7.8ft) long
Weight: 50 to 90 kg (110 to 200 lbs)
Colour: Dark to rusty brown
Diet: Omnivorous; diet includes roots, tubers, fruits, insects, and small vertebrates
Predators: Wolves, tigers and Komodo dragons in certain regions
Top Speed: 40 km/h (25 mph)
No. of Species: 1
Conservation Status: Least Concern (IUCN)

There are remarkable similarities between boars and humans, they both eat more or less anything, can live across a range of climates, have tight-knit social groups and love to roll in mud. The difference is that most humans eventually persuade themselves this last part isn’t true. 

Both boars and humans are remarkably intelligent, too, though boars wouldn’t use that to look down on humans, and so are just better people. 

When it comes to it, boars are tough and respectable animals, and they deserve a lot better than they receive from us. 

Interesting Wild Boar Facts

1. They’ll eat anything

The first thing that makes generalists so great is their ability to eat whatever’s around. Pigs are the perfect example of this, and while the majority of their diets come from roots and tubers, they’ll kill and eat anything they can get their mouths onto. 

There’s even footage available of pigs munching on a dead leopard. They’ll eat fruit, seeds, carrion, live animals, dead animals, eggs, bread, cardboard, and so on. This is the first key to their success as a species. 1

2. They’re highly intelligent

The second factor in their amazing accomplishments is their ability to work together. These animals are very social and consequently packed with intelligence. 

Farmed pigs are thought to be at least as intelligent as a young human person, and boars are likely smarter than dogs by a fairly wide margin. 

Their intelligence helps them socialise but also allows them to stay elusive where necessary, escape the confines of captivity, and pick their battles wisely.

Check out our piece on the 10 smartest animals on the planet. 2

3. They’ve been immensely successful

Because of all this, they’ve done very well almost all over the world. Boars originally come from Europe and Asia, but have exploded in the US to the point where they are now invasive. 

They occupy snowy areas, savanna, dense vegetation and muddy woodlands equally well, and while they have a preference for cover, they more or less thrive all over the place. 

Wild Boar family

4. Wild boar go by a variety of different names

They are also known as ‘wild pigs’, ‘wild swine’, ‘common wild pigs’ and the ‘Eurasian wild pig’. Their are up to 16 subspecies recognized in total, with small differences in appearance and behaviour.

5. They’re tough

Boars are just hardcore. Their inherent toughness sets them apart from humans, and was a point of pride among medieval hunters, for whom the boar hunt was a highly dangerous event and one that garnered great respect as a result. 

Henry VIII was a notorious huntsman before he became all bloated and insane, and by then they were using crossbows to kill the poor things. 

Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed a good hunt, and the toffery involved was a great way to show off the expensive horses and other ostentatious nonsense that makes the elites so much better than everyone else.  

There were special weapons designed especially for killing boars, and they’d be used from horseback, and even with all this, people would still die doing it. 

Boars were even bred to hunt in the UK, and in classic royal pretense, the tradition would involve the animals being killed by the real hunters, and then allowing the King to stab its corpse with a knife to make himself feel big. 

Wild Boar Running

6. They’re tenacious

Pigs in general aren’t just physically tough, but mentally-so. The phrase “pig-headed” is a nod to this, and their stubborn nature is one of the reasons people don’t recognize their intelligence. 

In the UK, boars were hunted to extinction some time before the 17th century. But they forced their way back in, not content with the handful of royal-led reintroduction attempts (that failed), boars burst from captive food farms and recolonized their old habitats themselves. 

The forests of Kent and Devon now have sustainable boar populations, and there are populations in Scotland and Wales too. 3

7. They’ve become invasive

They’re so good at this that they’ve invaded the US and Canada. Some are now talking of a boar/domestic pig hybrid which is supposedly even more intelligent and destrictive than you’re regular pig. 

It’s said that boars and escaped pigs have caused around $1.5 million of damage per year already and are outcompeting native fauna. Attempts at eradicating these smart and elusive animals have fallen a bit flat, though they are heavily persecuted across their range. 

Wild Boar

8. They deserve better

One of the most common ways that unpleasant people kill boars is by hunting them with dogs. This method involves domestic dogs chasing and attacking a terrified boar, ideally towards a hunter’s gun barrel.

Countless disturbing videos are available online of a boar putting up a valiant effort only to be chuckled at as its death throes amuse onlookers, whose dogs tear into it. 

Pigs in general have deep emotional intelligence and sentience and are just as capable of feeling fear and pain as anyone else. Yet some are pinned down and shot, others are stabbed to death, and some are even mauled by the dogs for several minutes before the hunter finds them. 

But regardless of how they meet their end, these animals deserve far deeper respect than we give them. Of course, domestic pigs suffer an even worse existence, but neither is really excusable in times of plentiful food and more ethical alternatives. 4

Wild Boar Fact-File Summary

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Genus: Sus
Species: Sus Scrofa

Fact Sources & References

  1. Rashka Barre (2023), “3 Boar Attacked a Leopard And brutally killed”, YouTube.
  2. Sam Saunders (2022), “Pigs are more intelligent than we realise – why are we still experimenting on them?”, Independent.
  3. Wild boar in Britain – when and how did they go extinct?”, Res Historica.
  4. What Is ‘Pig Dogging’?”, Peta Australia.