A growing concern in the United States, Europe and elsewhere in the world, wild boars are a known menace on farms and other agricultural installations.
They cause untold damage, and have resulted in the collapse of a local ecosystems. They eat a ton, root up all kinds of plants, reproduce quickly and have basically no natural predators.
Most containment and control efforts have turned out to be either only holding actions, or are simply losing against the porcine menace. These nasty creatures definitely look the part, but are they dangerous to people?
Yes, wild boars (feral pigs) are quite dangerous. Adults tend to be large, powerful and quite temperamental, and the males particularly have oversized teeth that they use to gore their targets. Most people that are attacked by wild boars come away with significant injuries.
Wild boars have become such a massive problem that many states and countries actually fund hunting expeditions for the purposes of eradication.
This naturally incentivizes many people to get closer to these animals, or at least close enough, for encounters to happen and that’s when things tend to go wrong.
But even those that don’t hunt them are encountering them more and more often in cities that border their habitats. There’s a lot more you’ll need to know about wild boars, and I’ll tell you about it down.
Wild Boar Overview, Temperament and Habitat
Wild boars, also known as feral pigs, are indigenous wild descendants of domestic pigs, or else are escaped domestic pigs that have turned back to their wild roots.
In some cases, they are hybrids resulting from a mingling of the two. They are found in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.
Wild boars are well known for their strength, agility, intelligence, and toughness.
These pigs are omnivores and have a varied diet that includes roots, tubers, fruits, insects, small reptiles, and mammals.
This has led to their well-deserved reputation for crop destruction and ecosystem collapse. Wild boars are infamous for the damage they cause to crops, pasture lands, and forest habitats.
They’re also infamous for their aggressive behavior when threatened or approached, and will attack humans if they feel threatened or cornered.
This is especially concerning since the size of an adult wild boar can vary drastically; depending on the individual they can range from 90 to upwards of 700 pounds!
Adults also have tusks, which can be used as nasty weapons for defense and fighting.
Because wild boars can reproduce quickly, they’re becoming a major threat to agriculture, and also increasingly intruding into areas of human habitation, including cities.
This means that close encounters with humans are on the rise, and likely to stay that way for some time!
Do Wild Boars Protect Their Territory?
Yes. Wild boars are fiercely territorial and will defend their territories, which can range from 5 to 100 acres, with a great deal of aggression.
Though they might withdraw from contact, they may attack anyone or anything that enters their space, and are especially dangerous if they have young nearby.
Do Wild Boars Act Aggressively Toward Each Other?
Yes. Feral pigs are gregarious, generally, but they can be aggressive and territorial even with others not of their immediate group.
These animals are hierarchical and the strongest pig in a group will establish itself as the alpha, fighting off challengers to maintain dominance.
Fights between two boars can get quite violent, even during mating, so it’s wise to stay away from any such altercation.
Do Wild Boars Threaten People?
Yes, and they do so regularly in the wild or elsewhere. Wild boars are increasingly encroaching into urban and suburban areas bordering areas where they are plentiful, and it’s becoming more common for these animals to enter cities and towns looking for food.
Attacks that result from these meetings typically end in severe injuries for people.
Have There Been Recorded Wild Boar Attacks on People?
Yes, and sadly there have been many such attacks, provoked or not. There have been numerous reports of feral pig attacks on humans in the US, particularly in areas where feral pigs are prevalent.
Feral pigs are known to be particularly aggressive when they feel threatened or cornered, and can cause serious injury or death to humans in certain cases.
According to a study published in the Wilderness & Environmental Medicine journal, there were more than 660 reported wild pig attacks on humans between 1825 and 2012 in the US.
The majority of these attacks occurred in the southern states, particularly in Texas and Florida.
What Will Trigger a Wild Boar Attack on a Person?
Being in the pig’s territory, or being too close to the pig, or for no reason at all. Wild boars are very territorial and will attack to protect their space.
They can also be unpredictable and may even attack seemingly without provocation.
It’s best to stay well away from these animals if you encounter them in the wild, and be on guard in dense terrain since they are hard to spot until it is too late.
The above mentioned WEM study also found that most of the attacks occurred when humans were hunting, feeding, or trapping feral pigs.
Children and elderly individuals were found to be more vulnerable to feral pig attacks than young to middle-aged adults.
Just How Strong is a Wild Boar?
Extremely. These are stout, powerfully built animals. Many attacks result in significant injuries, such as deep cuts, puncture wounds, and broken bones. In some rare cases, feral pig attacks even resulted in fatalities.
Can Wild Boars Bite?
Yes, and they will, although their preferred attack is to gore with their larger, exposed teeth or “tusks” and slam into attackers.
What Does a Wild Boar Attack Look Like?
Wild boar attacks are invariably sudden, and in many cases unexpected. One way that wild boars can attack people is by charging at them head-on across open ground, using their speed, mass and sharp tusks to inflict injury.
This is a common offensive tactic among pigs, and is particularly dangerous if the boar is on the large side for obvious reasons.
Another way that wild boars can attack people is by bursting out of the brush or another concealed position with no warning when people draw too close. This may occur if the boar was startled from sleep or rest.
In addition, wild boars may counterattack humans who are hunting them, and this is a common occurrence when the boar has been injured, but not mortally, by gunfire, arrows or other weapons.
How Do You Respond to a Wild Boar Attack?
The single best thing you can do to protect yourself from a wild boar attack is simply to keep plenty of distance between yourself and the boar.
If you do encounter a wild boar, try to back away slowly, and don’t make any sudden moves that may scare or provoke it.
If you cannot avoid it, get in a car or building, or climb on top of something tall and sturdy to keep the hog from reaching you; they cannot climb well or jump very high.
If the pig charges you, use whatever means necessary to kill it or drive it off: weapons are your best bet, but you must be swift and sure on defense or else the pig will be on you.
Entangled fights with feral pigs lead to injuries for obvious reasons, but also from “friendly fire” from people trying to help and self-inflicted wounds from your own weapons.
Will a Wild Boar Eat a Person?!
Yes. Although they will not attack people as prey per se, unless starving, wild boars can and will eat people that they have killed in self-defense.
Any person killed and eaten by wild boars will likely have been attacked first and then dismembered after death.
Can People Catch Diseases from Wild Boars?
Yes, several. Wild pigs are known carried of several nasty bacterial and viral diseases, and a wide assortment of harmful parasites.
Trichinella and Toxoplasma gondi are two of the most common, and serious, diseases that feral hogs can transmit to people, and should not be taken lightly. Other nasty bugs include hepatitis and tuberculosis!
If you’re attacked by a wild boar, you must seek medical attention immediately, and it is best to stay far away from them in all cases.
If you are harvesting meat from a wild boar, make sure it is cooked thoroughly to prevent any potential contamination from harming you.