Field Signs

Want to know if wild boar are in your locality? - here are the field signs to look for.
But be warned! We do not advocate you go out and deliberately look for wild boar, but use this page only to assist with the identification of field signs you have chanced upon. Wild boar are not dangerous if left alone but it is not advisable to go deliberately disturbing them, particularly sows with young.

All photographs are of actual free-living wild boar signs located in southern England (all field sign photographs © Martin Goulding).

New booklet available: Wild Boar Sign: a field guide. Designed to be carried in a coat pocket whilst out in the field, this booklet contains over 40 colour photograhs to show how wild boar field signs can be identified, and informative text interprets the signs in relation to the wild boar's behaviour.

Details here: The Shop

Wild boar printThe limbs of a wild boar are distinctive in that the dew claws are set very low on the back and to the side of the limb. Unlike the tracks of other even toed ungulates it is the dew claws, which in soft ground are impressed even when walking slowly, that serve to identify wild boar tracks. Because they are set low to the side they appear in the track outside and to the back of the cleave prints.

dew claws

A wallow

Wild boar regularly visit temporary or permanently wet ground where they wallow to keep cool and remove parasites from their coats.

Video footage courtesy of Paul Smith (Fenwalker)

A rubbing post

The tree a wild boar rubs itself against after wallowing is readily identified as the bark is partly scraped off and coated with dried mud. Rubbing will help to remove parasites and to scent mark an area.

Video footage courtesy of TM

Notching post Trees are also notched by the tusks of a male wild boar, to mark out his territory.

Male boar notching a tree and coating the bark with pheromone laden saliva to advertise his presence.

Photo courtesy of Ben Locke

boar notching a post

Faecal pellets Wild boar faecal pellets are sausage shaped and consist of irregularly shaped lumps up to 7cm thick and approximately 10cm long. They are black in colour but turn grey after a time and break up into separate droppings.

Breached fencing A characteristic archshape is left by the wild boar where they have breached stock fencing.

Wild boar hair Wild boar hair can often be found snagged on barbed wire. The long guard hairs can be seen and a clump of thicker underhair.

Daytime nest

Daytime nests consist of a scrape made in the woodland floor, sometimes they are lined with leaves, grasses or twigs from the immediate vicinity. Daytime nests are often found at the base of a tree.

Video footage courtesy of Ben Locke

Woodland rooting

Rooting amongst bluebells on the woodland floor. The mixing of the soil layers enriches the soil and the surviving bluebells appear to show increased growth the following year.

Video footage courtesy of Ben Locke

Woodland ride rootingRooting along a grassy woodland ride. The earth is turned over in search of worms and roots. The rooted patches are subsequently colonised by plants such as violets, fleabane and creeping buttercup.

rooting ride

Pasture rootingRooting on pasture. The grass is overturned as the wild boar grub for worms and insects. Most pasture rooting occurs in the winter months when the ground is wetter.

rooting ride

Farrowing nest

The sow breaks off branches and piles them on top of one another to form a mound. The sow enters the mound and farrows undercover. After one week she and her piglets leave and the mound collapses down

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