Mating – a hard won privilege for males
The breeding period in most areas is from November to January, and most mating only lasts a month and a half (though see information on wild boar in the Forest of Dean on pages 15-16). Prior to mating, the males develop their subcutaneous armour, in preparation for confronting rivals. Their testicles double in size and the glands secrete a foamy yellowish liquid. Once ready to reproduce, males travel long distances in search of a sounder of sows, eating little on the way. Once a sounder has been located, the male drives off all young animals and persistently chases the sows. At this point, the male fiercely fights potential rivals. A single male can mate with five to 10 sows (37). Successful males chase females in oestrus, nudging them to show their interest. If the female is also interested, she may respond by urinating, releasing pheromones. If the female does not urinate, the male may give up after several minutes (38). By the end of the rut, males are often badly mauled and have lost one fifth of their body weight. Males do not partake in parenting.