Date of Award

6-1974

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Major Professor

Michael R. Pelton

Committee Members

Ralph W. Dimmick, James L. Byford, R. L. Murphree

Abstract

The present study was conducted within the Tennessee portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from fall 1971 to the summer of 1973. Information on the reproductive biology and population dynamics of the European wild hog (Sus scrofa) was obtained by the collection and analyses of reproductive tracts, field observation and back-dating ages to establish periods of reproductive activity.

Based on the 162 animals collected during the study, the male:female sex ratio, for all age classes, was 52:48. Age class structure was indicative of an expanding population.

Both male and female wild hogs were found to attain the age of puberty within the first year of life.

Mature males were found to be physiologically capable of breeding year-round. Females, while capable of farrowing during any month, exhibited peaks in breeding and subsequent farrowing activities. The major farrowing peaks for the European wild hog in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were found to be in late fall-early winter and late spring-easy summer.

Average litter size based on fetal counts, trapped litters, litters observed in the field and the number of lactating teats of sows with young was 3.2 with a range of 1 to 5.

Farrowing, except during periods of critical food shortages, appears to occur once a year. However, limited data suggest the possibility that during years of abundant food supplies, some sows may farrow two litters within a 12 month period. Management implications or the research and recommendations are discussed.

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