The Story Of Wild Animals:
Story Of The Prairie Dog
Story Of The Wild Boar
Story Of The Porcupine
Story Of The Hippopotamus
Story Of The Jackal
Story Of The Tapir
Story Of The Monkey
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Story Of The Wild Boar
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
The wild hog, or boar, inhabits many parts of Europe, especially the forests of Germany, where the chase of the wild boar is a common amusement. It has become extinct in this country for many years. Its tusks are terrible weapons, and capable of being used with fatal effect. They
curve outwards from the lower jaw, and are sometimes eight or ten inches in length. In India, where the boar attains to a great size, the horses on which the hunters are mounted often refuse to bring their riders within spear stroke Of the infuriated animal, and I have seen it kill a horse, and severely injure the rider with one sweep of its enormous tusks.
The wild boar is distinguished by a body generally of dusky-brown or grayish color, having a tendency to black, and being diversified with black spots. The front teeth or tusks in the male are long and powerful, and project beyond the upper lip, the mouth is large, and the elongated head is set on a short neck rising out of a thick and muscular body. The size is variable, an old wild boar, measured by a hunter, being five feet nine inches tong, while a four-year-old of the more ordinary size measured three feet Without the tail. The female is smaller than the male and with smaller tusks. The hairs of the body are coarse, intermixed with downy wool. On the neck and shoulders the hair takes the form of bristles, being long enough to be called a kind of mane which the animal is enabled to erect if irritated. The young has the body marked with stripes of a reddish color running lengthwise.
The lower tusks of the male wild boar, which project about three inches from the jaw, and are kept with edges as sharp as razors by wear against those of the upper jaw, are most formidable weapons, capable of ripping open a horse at a single stroke. Both the European and the Indian species are among the boldest and fiercest of all animals, charging men, horses, or elephants time after time without a moment's hesitation, and in spite of the most desperate wounds. Indeed, the injuries that a wild boar will sustain without loss of life are perfectly marvelous. I once killed an old boar, in the skull of which the broken extremity of the tusk of another boar was firmly embedded, with its point penetrating into the brain-cavity a short distance behind the left eye.
Although the speed of a wild pig is considerable, yet it cannot be maintained for any long distance, and accordingly, either a boar or a sow may be easily overtaken by a well-mounted horseman after a comparatively short run. Both as regards speed and inclination to fight there is, however, considerable local variation among the wild pigs of India; the large, heavily built animal found in Bengal being much more disposed to show fight than the lighter pig of the Punjab, which has a greater turn of speed. In spite of its boldness, the Indian wild boar seldom makes unprovoked attacks; but when once roused nothing will stop it. An instance is on record of a boar charging, overthrowing, and ripping open a camel; and there are several well-authenticated cases of boars having attacked and killed or beaten off tigers.
The curious Japanese masked pig has an extraordinary appearance, from its short head, broad forehead, and nose, great fleshy ears and deeply-furrowed skin. Not only is the face furrowed, but thick folds of skin, which are harder than the other parts, almost like the plates on the Indian rhinoceros, hang about the shoulders and rump. It is colored black, with white feet, and breeds true. That it has long been domesticated there can be little doubt; and this might have been inferred even from the circumstance that its young are not longitudinally striped.
The extraordinary development of the tusks in the males of the animal to which the Malays have given the name of Babirusa (meaning pig-deer) is so remarkable as to suggest at first sight the idea of a malformation. The Babirusa, which is an inhabitant of Celebes and Boru, and is the sole representative of its genus, has, indeed, derived its name from these abnormally-developed tusks, which have led the Malays to liken them to the antlers of the deer. In the boars the upper tusks, while curving upwards like those of an ordinary wild pig, instead of protruding from the margins of the jaws, arise close together near the middle line of the face, and thence, after being directed upwards for a short distance, sweep backwards, frequently coming into contact with the surface of the forehead, and are then finally directed forwards at the tip. The lower tusks have the same upwards-and-backwards direction as those of the upper jaw, but are frequently less strongly curved, although in other cases the direction of their sweep is not very different from that of the latter. The upper tusks occasionally attain a length of fourteen and one-half inches, exclusive of the portion buried in the socket.
It is a popular belief that pigs are never injured by the poisons of snakes;and it is customary to turn a drove of these animals into a district infested by such reptiles, which in a short time is usually completely cleared of them. It is well known that pigs will destroy any rattlesnake they meet with, and this serpent is certainly provided with one of the most deadly of poisons, and it is a reptile not at all likely to submit to an attack from any quarter without using all its powers of defense. It is supposed that the pig receives the bite of the enraged snake on its cheek, where the fat and gristle are the thickest, and that, as there is little or no blood in that part, the poison is not carried through the system, so that the animal experiences no ill-effects from the virus. Whenever a serpent is spied, the pig, with erected bristles, rushes right upon it, and, indifferent to the formidable fangs that are perhaps sticking in its own hide, bites the reptile in pieces and then devours it.
I once witnessed a hunt for babirusa by the natives of Celibes.
The animals being driven into a curral with a V-shaped opening and flanked by netting, we had plenty of time to wait before the sport began, and meanwhile the natives arranged themselves at their posts. One stood at the door of the curral, ready to close it directly any animal rushed in, others took up their places on either side of the wide entrance, while the remainder crouched in front of the long net at intervals of a few yards, each grasping his spear, and hidden from view by a huge Livistonia (a kind of palm) frond. We had not long been settled before a peculiar barking grunt in the distance announced the arrival of the first victim. Everyone was instantly motionless, and directly afterwards a dark object dashed up at great speed and buried itself in the net a short way down the slope. There was a short struggle, and in less than five minutes the captive, a full-grown female babirusa, was quietly reposing on her back, with her legs tied together with rattan, and we were once more in ambush for the next comer. We were hardly quiet before the same peculiar sound was heard rapidly approaching, and the next moment a magnificent old boar babirusa rushed past within five yards of us, and plunged into the net between our tree and the entrance to the curral. His long tusks became entangled in the meshes, and the natives ran up to spear him. Just at this moment, however, he broke loose, and, turning on his antagonists, scattered them in all directions. It was a most determined charge, and, as we were unable to fire for fear of hitting some of our own men, it might have proved a serious affair for the native he singled out. After some trouble the animal was, however, finally despatched with a spear-thrust, but, even with four spears buried in his body, the old boar died game, striving to the very last to get at his antagonists.