Take care in the Countryside as Boar breeding season approaches
While Rix Petroleum are out delivering rural homes with domestic heating oil and farms with Gas Oil, we can’t help but notice the beauty of the countryside our customers live in. From the Scottish Highlands to the forests in the Midlands, every drive is teeming with wildlife and breath taking views.
One increasingly noticeable animal up and down the country is the wild boar. Wiped out in Britain in the 13th century, several programmes over the past 15 years has seen the boar reintroduced into the countryside. Mostly nocturnal, they keep to the woodlands.
Records list there are 1,000 wild boar, but experts have said it is likely to be 10 times this amount. The male boar can stand up to a metre at the shoulder and exceed 150lb in weight. They tend to travel with a matriarchal female who makes decisions for the group.
Although large in size, boar are not naturally aggressive towards humans and it is perfectly fine to continue enjoying walks and cycling through the woods. Nevertheless, you should never approach wild boar, and it is best to avoid dense undergrowth for chance of unknowingly stepping on a sleeping boar.
From February until May, it is piglet season for the wild boar. Take extra precaution as sows can be sensitive when protecting their young.
Wild boar can often take exception to dogs, so it is wise to keep your canine leashed when in wild boar territory.
Some of these creatures were formally domesticated, so do not run on sight of humans. A few still associate people with receiving food, and may come quite close. Although, most of the time, a group will flee from humans. Boars do not have good eyesight, but they make up for it with fantastic hearing and sense of smell. They will be aware of a human presence long before getting seen themselves.
If a human is spotted by a group, one of the males are likely to make a loud warning snort. It is then left to the matriarchal female to decide fight or flight. They are smart creatures, and will often choose to flee from danger rather than start an unnecessary fight.
Boars are notorious travellers. They are known to trek great distances and it is thought that there are many groups colonising in parts around the UK.
DEFRA has issued the following advice if you do spot a wild boar:
- If walking in an area known or suspected to be occupied by wild boar dogs should be kept on a lead.
- Avoid walking through dense undergrowth where wild boar may be encountered at close quarters.
- If you see wild boar, do not approach them; if possible leave the area by the same route you approached by, or make a detour giving the animals a wide berth.
- If you see wild boar and you have a dog off the lead, call the dog to heel and put it on a lead immediately.
- If you have a dog off the lead and it chases wild boar or will not return when called, stay at a safe distance and continue to call the dog back; do not approach the boar.
- Sows with young piglets are potentially more dangerous than other boar because they may attempt to defend their young. They have a prolonged breeding season but most litters are born in spring. Avoid walking in areas known or suspected to be occupied by wild boar during this period (February to May). In particular, avoid dense woodland or other thick cover as such areas are favoured as resting and breeding sites.
- In many cases, if boar are seen from a safe distance, it may be possible to simply wait until they have left the area of their own accord before proceeding.
- Public safety is primarily the concern of the Police rather than Defra. If you are concerned that wild boar are present and a safety hazard in a particular area you should inform the local Police.