Wild boars are a common sight throughout the southern United States, though they are actually native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Considering they live in so many different parts of the world, you may be wondering about their diet. What do wild boars eat, and do their food preferences change based on where they live? What are their favorite foods? Keep reading! In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more!
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What Do Wild Boars Eat?
Wild boars have been described as “nature’s own trash cans” and are sometimes considered the world’s ultimate omnivores.
They eat both meat-based and plant-based material depending on what is most readily available at any given time where they live. They have even been known to eat indigestible materials that they forage from dumpsters.
In fact, it seems there is nothing these wild pigs cannot eat. They have extremely strong stomachs and appear to be impervious to many toxins.
They are native to parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia, but they can also be found in North and South America. Again, the specific foods they are most likely to eat will depend on what’s available in a given region at a given time of year.
Wild boars need at least 4,000 to 4,500 calories a day. They forage for most of their food at dawn and dusk.
Some of the foods they commonly eat include:
- Plant matter: Wild boars eat many different kinds of plants–grass, leaves, low-growing shrubs, roots, tubers, vegetables, fruits, moss, tree bark, seeds, grains, and nuts. Again, they will eat whatever is available, but plant-based foods appear to be what they prefer most.
- Fungi: Wild boars will eat all kinds of mushrooms, particularly those growing from the ground or from the base of tree trunks. These mushrooms are readily available, highly nutritious, and tasty.
- Invertebrates: Wild boars don’t have a lot of natural hunting skills, so when they eat meat-based foods they prefer those that are easy to catch. Snails, spiders, snakes, worms, insects, and other invertebrates make up a small but crucial part in their overall diet.
- Eggs: Wild boars will sometimes raid the nests of ground-nesting birds in their region, stealing the eggs and, sometimes, the baby chicks. They will occasionally eat the adult birds also, and may sometimes eat lizards, toads, mice, and other small animals–particularly if they are easy to catch.
- Carrion: Wild boars may eat larger animals that have died or been killed previously. Though they aren’t really able to hunt these larger animals, they will eat the leftovers of another predator’s kill or scavenge the remains of just about any dead animal they may come across.
What is a Wild Boar’s Favorite Food?
As mentioned above, wild boars will eat whatever is available and easy to hunt or forage. They are not picky and will eat almost anything–even non-food items–if they are hungry enough.
That said, they seem to prefer plant matter over meat-based foods; in fact, their diet typically consists of about 90 percent plants and 10 percent meat.
This may be partly because plant-based foods are easier to get–it doesn’t require any hunting skills to gather nuts, grasses, or other types of plants. What’s more, plant-based foods are highly diverse and offer a range of nutritional benefits.
Again, it can be difficult to identify favorite foods since they will eat anything, and their food preferences will further depend on where they live and what’s available. But in a general sense, some of their favorite plant-based meals appear to include:
- Crops: Wild boars living near areas of farmland love to invade all different kinds of crops. This is because the food grown in these areas is abundant, convenient, and often much higher-quality than the foods they would find in the wild.
- Tree nuts: Tree nuts and seeds such as acorns, olives, pine seeds, chestnuts, and beechnuts are favorites among wild boars. These nuts and seeds are nutrient-dense and high in calories, so they are tasty high-energy foods for wild boars.
- Grains: Wild oats, corn, barley, wheat, rice, and other grains are also high in calories and filled with nutrients. Wild boars love these types of foods because they are filling and energy-giving.
Check out this video of some wild boars eating from a pile of proffered grain:
Do Wild Boars Eat Grass?
Grass is one of the most readily available plant-based foods throughout the world. Considering wild boars eat a lot of plants and enjoy convenience, you may be wondering: do wild boars eat grass?
The answer is yes. In parts of the world where grass is abundant, wild boars may eat more grass than any other single food.
Though grass is not as nutrient-dense as other types of food, it does grow well in many environments. Since it is so easy to find and consume, wild boars living in these environments often eat it as one of their staple foods.
Of course, they will continue to eat other types of food as well, and meat-based options may be especially important for these wild boars as they will be some of the most high-energy and nutritious foods available to them.
Wild boars are not picky; they are omnivores, and they will eat just about anything they can find if they get hungry enough. Though they primarily eat plant-based foods, with some meat to supplement their diet, they have even been known to eat non-food items such as rocks and plastic without suffering any ill effects.