29 • 12 • 2017

The Turn of the Year - Wild Boar Wedding Time

Meza cukas

In autumn, large sounders of wild boars are still formed in the territories of Latvia, which are not yet seriously affected by African swine fever. Sounders usually consist of dozens of animals of different ages and sizes: from sows and their piglets to adult pigs, a-year-and-a-half and two-year-old piglets of both sexes. Each such sounder is led by a grown-up, experienced sow, who always takes its youngest piglets along.

Only adult males choose to live alone. They are higher than a metre, almost two metres in length and can weigh up to 200 kilos. Wild boar males change their solitary lifestyle only during the mating period that begins in the second half of November. It culminates in December, and ends in early January. Shortly before the start of the breeding season, sounders of females and young males split; adult pigs leave their piglets for a while, while adult males having changed their solitary lifestyle, join a sounder and follow the females who are currently free of children.

berzesanas koks IMG 3547 4

During the wedding season, grown-up boars are constantly uptight - they are sending the small, young boars away and are always ready to guard their females from other wandering males. Boars leave aromatic signals to their potential competitors - they often defecate and urinate, rub against trees. If a competitor ignores these warning signs and throws a challenge, the master of the wild boar harem first tries to intimidate the competitor, but if that fails, then he is ready to fight and attack. During this time, extremely violent tusk battles are often to be observed.

The location of battlefields are characterised by a lowered ground area, which is usually marked with animal bristles and hairs, sometimes even blood.

Before the period of rooting, a particularly strong layer of connective tissue - the so-called "armour" designed to protect against tusk shocks - forms under the shoulders and neck of a boar. Although the animals are protected by this "armour", some fights still end with a serious injury or even death.

jaunu meza cuku bara lapsas pedu nospiedumi IMG 5923 2


Females during the mating period are mostly mutually supportive, since it is very rare that two or several wild boars of the same sounder have rutting days at the same time.

The winner of the boar fight, keeping in mind that he still might face another competitor, follows the ladies he has conquered. The animal sniffs the air, looking for traces left by other boars. As soon as his olfactory organs receive a signal that a female boar in his sounder is rutting, the male boar takes this pig aside from the others to mate. After that, the male boar returns to his place at the back of his sounder and waits for an "air mail" from the next pig.

When the winter reaches its peak, the period of the wedding passions for wild boars comes to an end. The male boars resume their lone life. The piglets who have survived return to their mothers. Wild boars return to living in sounders. This period lasts until the spring, when females give birth. Before the labour they one by one leave the sounder.

In May, most wild boar females in their daily activities will be accompanied by a large group of young piglets.