Monday, November 22, 2010

The term “boar” refers to a wild pig species or a male pig

Wild boars are a European species of wild pigs, Sus scrofa of the Suidea family. The word “boar” is also used in generic terms for any kind of male pig. Remember, the female counterpart is the sow and the young ones are the piglets.

Wild boars are the ancestors of domestic pigs. Wild pigs and domestic pigs, the latter also known as domestic swines or house swines, can still interbreed to produce hybrids such as the ones gone feral in California [1,2], where neither type has been native. The wild boars were introduced in California as game species, while the domestic pigs came with the Spanish missions. They managed to intermingle—California-style—and the hydrids now roam the oak-tree hills and valleys in large numbers.

Wild pigs are not only surging in California, but also in their native landscapes like those in Germany. In German, wild boar is Wildschwein (note the similarity between the nouns swine and Schwein) and the male pig is a Keiler or Eber. Geographic place names such as Ebern (in Unterfranken) and Ebersberg (east of Munich) indicate human-boar interaction during history. It will only be a matter of time until California will have its Boarhill or Boarville community.

Keywords: Artiodactyla, mammals, sexes of pigs, hybridization

References and further reading
[1] Daniel McGlynn: Ground Invasion
Wild Pigs and Turkeys in the East Bay Hills. Bay Nature October-December 2010, pp. 18-22.
[2] Tom Stienstra:
California WildlifeA Practical Guide. Avalon Travel Publishing, Inc., Eneryville, California, USA, 2000.

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