- Wild boars are a favorite menu item for several species, a status which, in addition to life on the move, prevents them from reaching their full-size potential.
- That said, certain species are capable of growing to impressive sizes, including the Carpathian, Middle Asian, and Ussuri boars.
- However, even they are dwarfed by their domestic relatives, which are capable of outdoing them spectacularly, weight-wise.
The wild boar (Sus scrofa) is a relative of the pig and native to Eurasia and North America. With the help of humans, the species now enjoys a range across the world and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
Wild boars and their pig brethren can grow to gigantic proportions. Domestic pigs have the luxury of being protected from predators, as well as usually being held in confined spaces, so they often grow to greater sizes than wild boars. Wild swine are preyed on by tigers, lions, wolves, and other large carnivores, preventing most individuals from growing old enough to reach massive sizes. Even if they don’t become prey, wild boar are always moving, hunting, and foraging, which reduces their weight.
That being said, there have been some massive wild boars recorded in recent years, and larger ones still may be roaming in the depths of untraveled forests around the world.
Hogzilla: A Georgia Mystery
In 2004, claims of a 12-foot long, 1,000 pound beast were surfacing around the Internet. Chris Griffin of Alapaha in southern Georgia had only one blurry photo of Hogzilla as proof, so the claims were often dismissed as fake.
Over six months later, experts from National Geographic came to exhume the body and investigate the claims. They were able to judge that Hogzilla was at least 800 pounds and around 8 feet long. Not quite as impressive as earlier thought, but a lumbering beast nonetheless. Hogzilla did have a record for the longest tusks on a North American wild boar: one had grown to almost 18 inches in length.
Where is Alapaha, Georgia, Located on a Map?
Alapaha, Georgia is in Berrien County in deep southern Georgia about halfway on a northwest diagonal between Jacksonville, Florida, and Columbus, Georgia. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 481. The name comes from a Seminole trade settlement that once existed on the same site.
A California Record
One of the heaviest wild boars (with reliable confirmation) was shot in California near Fort Bragg. With just one shot, Joe Orth took down a 733 pound hog that beat the old California record by over 100 pounds. The head and shoulders were preserved by a taxidermist, but over 200 pounds of the wild boar were able to be turned into bratwursts and meat patties.
Largest Wild Boar Subspecies
There are 16 recognized subspecies of wild boars. Let’s take a look at some of the largest wild boar subspecies.
The Ussuri Boar (S. s. ussuricus) is thought to be the largest of the wild boars. The Ussuri subspecies is found in Eastern China and parts of Russia, including the Ussuri Bay and Amur Bay. Adult males are often found above 500 pounds, with some individuals weighing even more. The weight of a Ussuri Boar (or any wild boar for that matter) will vary wildly depending on environmental factors like food and water availability.
The Carpathian Boar (S. s. attila) is a large boar subspecies found in Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, and nearby areas. The average Carpathian boar weighs over 300 pounds, with some individuals reaching massive sizes of over 800 pounds when food is abundant. This subspecies will generally have dark hair and longer lacrimal bones (eye sockets).
Middle Asian Boar
The Middle Asian Boar (S. s. nigripes) is another large subspecies that can be found around Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Afghanistan, and nearby countries. Just like with other species, the maximum weight of a Middle Asian Boar fluctuates wildly depending on habitat and resource availability. Many individuals have been found to weigh over 500 pounds. The Middle Asian Boar features a lighter coat than many other related subspecies—much closer to a light gray than the usual dark brown or black.
Wild Boar Terminology
When speaking amongst wildlife professionals and hunters, wild boars are usually referred to with special terms based on their age. The giant boars listed above are called “Grand Old Boars”, which designates a wild boar over 7 years in age. A “Pig of the Sounder” is a wild boar over 2 years in age. “Juveniles” are 1 to 2 years old, and a “Squeaker” is a newborn piglet.
Are Wild Boars the Largest Swine Species?
While wild boars can grow to epic proportions, they are no match for their domesticated pig cousins. Big Bill, a hog that resided on a farm in Jackson, Tennessee, weighed in at 2,552 pounds in 1933. That’s over twice the weight of the heaviest recorded wild boars! He was set to be featured at the Chicago World Fair, but the pig unfortunately broke a leg and had to be euthanized.
Domestic pigs usually have access to unlimited food, as well as protection from predators and harsh weather, making it easier for them to reach the gigantic proportions that all swine are capable of.
The Giant Forest Hog
The Giant forest hog (Hylochoerus meinertzhageni) is recognized as the largest swine species on average. While domestic pigs and wild boars have individuals that grow to immense sizes, these Giant Forest Hogs are bigger on average. They can weigh anywhere from 200 to 600 pounds, with bigger specimens standing almost 4 feet tall. The species is found throughout the forests and woodlands of Africa. They are known for their aggressive behavior, which is likely why the species was never domesticated in Sub-Saharan Africa.
How Long Do Wild Boars Live?
Wild boars tend to live for just under a decade or even far less. On average their lifespan ranges between 5 – 8 years.
Pigs on the other hand can get to live longer, and generally have a lifespan ranging between 5 -18 years. Again the combination of good food, copious quantities of water, and the absence of natural predators all play a contributing role to their relative longevity compared to their wilder relatives.
The Featured Image
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.