Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Boar, Wild

From volume III of the work.
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BOAR, Wild (Sus scrofa), an important species of Suidæ, a family of Pachydermatous Mammals, and generally regarded as the original stock of our domestic breeds of swine. In size it is equal to the largest of the domestic kinds, while exceeding them all in strength of body and in ferocity of disposition. It is of a greyish-black colour, covered with short woolly hair, thickly interspersed with coarse stiff bristles, which assume the form of a mane along the spine. The canine teeth are largely developed, forming two pairs of prism-shaped tusks, which thus become formidable weapons. In old age those tusks in the lower jaw gradually curve inwards and upwards over the snout until they are rendered useless for purposes of attack, when, according to Darwin, they become serviceable for defence in the frequent fights which take place during the rutting season. At the same time, the canines of the upper jaw begin to develop outwards and upwards, and these take the place of the lower ones as offensive weapons. The wild boar is a native of the temperate regions of Europe and Asia, where it inhabits the deepest recesses of forests and marshy grounds. Vambery, in his recent journey through Central Asia, found them in enormous numbers in the extensive swamps of Turkestan. They appear to have been denizens of British forests at least till the reign of Henry II., after which they are not heard of till the time of Charles I., when an attempt to restock the New Forest with them failed. In the reign of William the Conqueror any one killing a wild boar was liable to have his eyes put out. After reaching maturity the boar becomes a solitary animal, unless during the breeding season, when it seeks the female, and at this time they engage in fierce contests with each other, although these, it is said, seldom lead to fatal results, as they contrive to receive the blows on their tusks, or on the specially tough skin which covers their shoulders. The Indian Wild Boar (Sus indicus) is undoubtedly polygamous, and there are several facts which point to a similar habit in the European boar. Both species are nocturnal, issuing from their coverts at twilight in quest of food. This is chiefly of a vegetable nature, consisting of roots which it ploughs up by means of its broad muscular snout and of grain; although they are also known to devour the smaller mammals, birds, and eggs. The female is ordinarily a timid creature, but shows great courage and fierceness in defence of its young. It associates with other females for mutual protection against wolves. The wild boar was for many centuries a favourite beast of chase with the nobility of Europe. It was hunted on foot with the spear, its great strength, and its ferocity when at bay, rendering the sport alike exciting and dangerous. The gun has now superseded the spear in European boar-hunting, but owing to the comparative scarcity of the boars it is now little practised. In India, however, where these animals abound in the jungles, it is still a favourite sport, the boar being pursued on horseback and speared. The bristles of the boar are much used in the manufacture of brushes.