02. June 2014
About Wild Boars, Sus scrofa
Probably one of the most overlooked animals, the wild boar (Sus scrofa) is commonly found throughout Sri Lanka. Be it in dry lowlands or highlands, wild boars can be found in whatever dry-zone scrub or wet-zone forest that provides them with forest cover.
With a body length of up to 1.8m, the wild boar is no bigger than a normal domestic pig. Do not let its size fool you, however. Wild boars are known to have a fearless temperament and will readily take on a leopard that threatens the sounder. When surprised or cornered, a wild boar can and will defend itself or its young with intense vigour.
Unlike domestic pigs whereby both males and females have somewhat similar appearances, male wild boars are easily distinguishable from female wild boars by the presence of their formidable tusks. These tusks protrude from their mouths and serve as either weapons or tools. Females do possess smaller canines but they do not protrude like the males’ tusks.
Wild boars are often found in herds or sounders that may number over 30 individuals, although groups of over 50 have been spotted. These sounders consist of females and their offspring (both sub-adult males and females). Adult males, on the other hand, are often seen alone and may join the herds of females and young only to breed.
Wild boars are prey to numerous predators – many of which are opportunistic and will hunt on piglets when presented with the chance to do so. Some of the predators of wild boars include leopards and crocodiles.
Wild boars are omnivorous scavengers; eating almost anything they come across. Their diets include grass, nuts, berries; and even carrion. In the past year, we had an encounter with several wild boars where they were seen feasting on an elephant carcass. It may seem gruesome, to some extent, but it is nature’s way of ensuring that nothing goes to waste in the wild.