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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 15:28 GMT
Ten things you did not know about wild boar
Sam Woodhouse

Wild boar
Wild boar: cute, cuddly or dangerous?

In the Middle Ages they were common. Then they died out, but now they are back again.

It is believed several hundred Wild Boars now roam the forests and woodlands of England.

Most escaped from farms where they were being bred for meat.

In some places, people are complaining they are a nuisance. There have been reports of boar charging people, attacking dogs and destroying gardens and crops.

In the Forest of Dean one had to be shot dead after it got drunk on fermented apples and became aggressive in a school playground.

So for the first time this week the government has published advice on how local communities can manage growing populations.

But before you do, here are 10 things you probably did not know about Wild boar.

1. Wild boars were extinct in Britain by the 18th century, but when wild boar farming became popular in the 1980s some animals escaped and have settled in woodland areas in Forest of Dean, Dorset, Kent and East Sussex.

In some places there are more than a hundred wild boars living in woodland. And the numbers are growing.

2. They like to live in social groups called "sounders". Led by two or three mature females the groups can be as small as six and as large as 30.

3. Wild boar are good swimmers. Some have crossed the Rive Wye in Herefordshire and settled in Wales. Others have roamed up to 18 km from their home.

The only way to keep them out of your garden is to fence them out. Loud bangs and flashing lights are only temporarily effective and they will still come back.

4. They are nocturnal and sleep in day nests. These are large indentations on the forest floor lined with leaves.

Wild Boar
Wild boar wallows in 'glorious' mud

5. They can be brown, dark grey or even red. The offspring have long brown and cream stripes to act as camouflage in the woods.

6. Wild boars eats roots, bulbs, tubers, fruits and berries. They love acorns and will often hunt for wood mice so they can steal their supply of acorns.

7. They have an exceptional sense of smell and hearing, but poor eyesight. They communicate through grunts and squeals.

When they are happy they make a low rumbling sound.

8. You can shoot wild boar in Britain but only if you have permission from the landowner and the necessary firearm licences.

9. The mating season for wild boar is between October and November. Sows give birth in April and typically have 3-6 piglets.

10. Beowulf, in the Anglo-Saxon epic bearing his name, went into battle with a boar-head standard which was symbolic of his power as a leader and supposed to give protection to the warrior.

The Politics Show on Sunday 02 March at 12:00 GMT on BBC One.

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