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22 mars 2014

Wild boars: their diet

Sus scrofa
Artiodactyla - Suidae

Wild boars live in herds of several individuals - generally the same family - in a matriarchal system much like elephants: we saw younger sows assisting the leader with her own young and guiding them to food.



This very intelligent and omnivorous mammal - I will never stress it enough! - finds 90% of its food in the woods: it uses 2 specific techniques which are developed below.

Plants represent a much higher percentage than proteins: wild boars graze in diverse territories according to the seasons and travel great distances to feed on forest fruits and berries such as wild apples and grapes, chestnuts, acorns, roots, certain buds. They appreciate ears of corn which causes considerable damages to cereal crops unfortunately. As for mushrooms, they are not really part of their diet although they will eat them if their favorite foods become scarce.

 


The Wild boar is regrettably classified as a pest, nevertheless it is very useful in forests, eating many insect larvae which are much more harmful to crops and trees.
As for proteins, they are supplied by worms, slugs, snails, young birds, field mouses and
dead animal carcasses.
It also propagates seeds and spores caught in its hairs on long distances since it can travel up to 40 km a day.

Should I play this devil's advocate, I would say that if farmers were willing to fence their fields with a couple of electric wires, damages could be seriously reduced and much hunting and cruelty could be avoided. Wild boars would count exclusively then on forest foods and  would breed much less... After all, many stores in town such as jewelery stores are protected with an alarm system and/or a metallic blind!
Bad luck for them, these same farmers are also hunters...

Wild boars leave muddy tracks, as can see here at the bottom part of the oaktree where they scratch after their mud baths simply for pleasure and also to get rid of parasites!
They have a habit to rub always on the same trees and the bark is often often worn out until complete disappearance especially on the most delicate trees:

Recent rubbing patch:



Older and much used rubbing patch:

 

 


 The search for worms, insects and their larvae is done at the surface of the ground. Some lawns are literally turned up side down, making the owners quite angry!

 
 



The wild boar ploughs the ground and can excavate holes as deep as 60 cms to find roots, tubers or rhizomes and dig with its snout.




3 commentaires :

  1. Wow, looks ferocious. What a survivor. That one picture looks like he's headed right for you.
    Dangerous looking fellow. Be careful.

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  2. Interesante reportaje sobre la búsqueda de alimentos por parte del jabalí. En ocasiones me encuentro en el monte con las huellas que dejan en esta actividad. Un abrazo,

    RépondreSupprimer
  3. Nice photos and intersting read. After reading the Asterix books as a kid I always wanted to eat roast boar................

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