What's new at Basel Zoo

The wild boar enclosure at Basel Zoo has been refurbished and the striped piglets are whizzing about among the little pines.

Basel Zoo’s wild boar enclosure now features a small, sparse pine forest. It took a week to remove the old substrate from the enclosure, dig out the stream, bring new material in and plant the little pine trees.

The back portion of the enclosure has been strewn with wood chippings where the wild boars can dig to their hearts’ content or just stretch out comfortably. The front part of the enclosure is the ‘working area’: the wild boars rummage through the sand and stones with their snouts and properly dig up the place.  As time goes on, they move so much material about that the diggers have to come in regularly to set the enclosure back to its original state.

Clean pigs

The wild boar enclosure is currently home to six animals: a male, two females and three baby boars born on 6 January. These striped piglets are now scurrying nimbly among the trees. Wild boars’ feeding behaviour is particularly impressive: visitors can watch how they always wash their food in the stream before they eat it, behaviour first observed at Basel Zoo and described in 2015.

Wild boar build ‘nests’

Wild boar are exceptionally neat animals. They sometimes find a place to sleep on soft branches and under shrubs. It is an impressive sight to watch the sows (the females) building their farrowing nests, the name given to the collection of branches, leaves and twigs which the animals skilfully layer on top of each other. This is where their young are born. However, the current piglets were born in the stall – the cold and above all very rainy weather most likely prompted their mother to make herself comfortable there instead. If the weather plays ball, the second sow may use the many new pines and branches to build herself a farrowing nest outside.