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Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 12:23 UK
The wild boar in your local woods
By Heather Driscoll-Woodford
BBC Surrey

Wild boar and baby
Boar inhabit broad-leaved woodland and are omnivorous

It is thought that the wild pigs started breeding after escaping from farms that are licensed to keep them.

In fact, it's possible there are up to a thousand boar roaming the Surrey countryside.

However, the likelihood of you seeing one is slim, as they are remarkably intelligent, shy, retiring animals.

But as the population grows, the chance of getting a big surprise if you go down to the woods today, increases, so you might be lucky enough to spot one.

So what do you first think of when you hear the word PIG?

Pink, shiny happy animals with curly wurly tails and long eyelashes?

Piggies on film? Pinky and Perky, Porky, Miss Piggy, Piglet, the Three Little Pigs?

Bacon...?

PIGGY PARTICULARS
Boar are a large pig species covered in dark bristly hairs
They have a life span of 15-20 years
They weigh between 50 and 200kg

It's a fair bet your thoughts don't immediately spring to the image of a hulking, dark, tusked beast with wiry bristles like skewers, that silently stalks the woods at night, looking for lost ramblers to ambush?

Well, ok, that is actually an exaggeration but you get the idea.

Wild Boar are living in our woodland and actually have been for quite a while!

So if your only brush with England's wilder piggy wiggy, has been eating speciality sausages, read on.

Wild boar and baby
The chances of you spotting one are pretty unlikely

The boar is an ancestor to our domestic pigs and feral populations are now firmly resident in the South of England, where it was hunted to extinction in medieval times.

It inhabits broad-leaved woodland and is omnivorous, choosing to snuffle in leaf litter for roots, nuts, fungi, small animals and carrion.

It is thought that the boar started breeding after escaping from farms that are licensed to keep them.

But their fearsome reputation is largely unfounded too, according to Dr Martin Goulding, who wrote the first book on wild boar in Britain.

"They're very shy, retiring animals and they don't like disturbance. They'll run away from human contact and they know we're in the woods before we know they're about."




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