The wild feral pig has the scientific name of Sus scrofa. I observed this organism in the zoo, in an enclosure featuring two of them. I chose the wild feral pig as the organism for this paper because it has a closely related relative in the domesticated pig – Sus scrofa domesticus – and I was interested in learning what made these two species different.
Sus scrofa (Texas A&M, 2015)
The wild pig ranges in length from 153 cm to 240 cm, and the weight range of adults is wide from 66 kg to 270 kg (Wickline, 2014). The males of the species tend to be larger, and this difference in size becomes more apparent as the pigs age. One notable feature of wild pigs that differs significantly from that of the domestic pig is their hair. They have a thick coat of hair that is quite coarse. The coloring of this hair varies from black to brown to white, depending on their geographic location. Another notable feature is their dental formula, as their upper canines are usually visible even with their mouths closed.
Wild Feral Pig Life Cycle and Reproduction
Sus scrofa lives for a maximum of 27 years, with the life cycle stages being newborn piglets, juveniles, yearlings, and finally adults. They reach sexual maturity at the yearling stage but produce larger litters more frequently when they have matured to up to 2 years (Schlichting et al., 2015). Female wild feral pigs are polyestrous and experience estrus every 18 to 24 days if they have not been bred successfully. Their gestational period averages 110 to 120 days and produces an average of 5 newborns per litter. Mate choice is made through a mating competition, where there is a male-male fighting for breeding opportunities. Boars that have matured thick shoulder shields used during these fights, which can be intense and lead to injury and death. As a result of fight-based selection, the males breeding is usually the larger and older ones.
Wild Feral Pig Life Structure and Function
One impressive organ system of the wild feral pig is its digestive system. It is similar to that of humans in that it is monogastric. It has five parts, featuring the mouth, the oesophagus, the stomach, the small intestine and the large intestine. Digestion begins in the mouth where food is broken down through chewing and saliva, and transported via the oesophagus to the stomach where acids and enzymes are secreted to break the food down further. The small intestine is the next stage for digestion, where the food is further digested and absorbed. The final stage before excretion is the large intestine where water is absorbed.
Wild Feral Pig Life Energy Ecology and Habitat
Food sources are small animals, plants, and farming crops (Gentle, Speed, & Marshall, 2015). The small animals include snails, fish, reptiles, and birds. Plants represent a larger portion of their diet, and they particularly enjoy acorns. They also eat grass, tubers, roots, and fungi. Their temporal pattern of feeding is multifaceted because wild pigs live in many different habitats. They have a broad eating pattern that allows this and can be found in areas ranging from damp woods to deserts. They base habitat on access to sustenance, rather than a specific type of climate (Allwin et al., 2016).
In conclusion, wild pigs are generally smaller to the same size as domesticated pigs, with thicker coarser coats of hair, and a wider variety of coloring. Their digestive system is similar to that of humans, and they also have an omnivorous diet. They are found all over the United States and the rest of the world, in varying habitats ranging from semi-arid to tropical habitats. They breed all year round, with sows having an 18-24 day estrus cycle and an average of 5 pigs per litter. These pigs are definitely more versatile and hardy to environmental conditions and food sources than the domesticated pigs we are more familiar with.
Allwin, B., Swaminathan, R., Mohanraj, A., Suhas, G. N., Vedamanickam, S., Gopal, S., & Kumar, M. (2016). The wild pig (Sus scrofa) behavior–a retrospective study.
Gentle, M., Speed, J., & Marshall, D. (2015). Consumption of crops by feral pigs (Sus scrofa) in a fragmented agricultural landscape. Australian Mammalogy, 37(2), 194-200.
Schlichting, P. E., Richardson, C. L., Chandler, B., Gipson, P. S., Mayer, J. J., & Dabbert, C. B. (2015). Wild pig (Sus scrofa) reproduction and diet in the Rolling Plains of Texas. The Southwestern Naturalist, 60(4), 321-326.
Texas A&M. (2015). Sus scrofa. Retrieved from https://txmn.org/coastal/sus-scrofa/
Wickline, K. (2014). Sus scrofa. Animal Diversity. Retrieved from https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Sus_scrofa/