Following our own experience this week, coming face to face with (and capturing on camera) a sounder of Wild Boar visiting the Krakòw Expats Directory garden fence to feed on our cherries, we thought it would be wise to offer advice on how to act should you be lucky enough to have your own wild boar experience in or around Krakòw.
The good new is that wild Boar (Dzik) are usually afraid of humans, and with a good sense of smell, they will quickly become aware of your presence and run off.
Attacks on humans are rare, but do happen, a man was attacked in the city last year, after getting lost in some woods, whilst drunkenly trying to find his way home. More recently, near Nowe Tokary, in a moment of sweet irony, two sets of opposing football hooligans began to fight each other and were themselves attacked by a group of wild boar, leaving several of the hooligans (and none of the boar) requiring medical treatment. (EDIT – the football hooligan article in question was posted on 1st April, so may not be genuine, however other genuine attacks are well documented, including video of a boar on the beach at the Polish seaside which became spooked and attacked people)
Wild Boar are nocturnal and prefer a wooded habitat and areas of shrubs or long grass. Sightings are becoming increasingly common, all across the city, but there are known to be many in the Ruczaj, Borek, Kliny areas. You will sometimes see signs of damaged ground or turf, where the boar have been scrounging for food, often the damage can be extensive.
OUR BOAR EXPERIENCE
A few days ago, in the early evening, whilst walking the Krakòw Expats Directory dog in a small wood close to Fort Łapianka, in the Kliny area of Krakòw, we encountered, fleetingly, a family of boar, with young piglets, three times on one walk. Each time the boar disappeared into the bushes and shrubs.
Later that evening there were noises at the back garden gate, and on going out to investigate, we came face to face with a whole bunch of boar, happily stuffing themselves on the cherries which had fallen from the cherry trees along our garden fence. Most of them ran off into the long grass, but one of them stopped, stared, then took a few steps down the path towards us growling and snorting aggressively. The garden gate was quickly closed, as we wisely retreated.
We set up our automatic infrared night time camera, and managed to capture some great film of our cherry loving visitors, who returned later, there were many more of them than we expected.
DO WILD BOARS ATTACK?
Like many other wild animals, wild boars will only attack if they are cornered or if they feel threatened, most usually whilst being hunted. Female wild boars are very protective of their young and can easily be provoked. Otherwise, totally unprovoked attacks are rare. Given a choice, the boars usually flee rather than fight.
Wild boars are strong animals that can run surprisingly fast, (youtube ‘boar attack’ videos, show that they can be alarmingly fast, but be warned – many of the videos are graphic and unpleasant with wounded animals and human victims, mostly in hunting scenarios). The canines/tusks in adult males are razor sharp, which can inflict deep and often infected, serious injuries in case of an attack.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ENCOUNTER A WILD BOAR
- Stay calm and move slowly away from the animal. Do not approach or attempt to feed the animal.
- Keep a safe distance and do not corner or provoke the animal i.e. by using a flash while taking pictures of it !!
- If you see adults with young piglets, leave them alone. These are potentially more dangerous because they may attempt to defend their young.
- If you are walking a dog, keep it on a leash in areas where boars have been sighted. Boars are often hunted using dogs, and will attack dogs, particularly aggressive ones. Your dog, if attacked, will naturally return to you, leading the angry boar straight to you.
SURVIVING THE ATTACK
If you are extremely unlucky and the boar does attack, how should you react to have the best chance to survive ? The following advice has been taken from the internet:
Think of it like an attack by a very large aggressive dog. The hackles on its neck will stand up.
Stand tall, do not run, look around for a tactical retreat.– this can be a large tree that you can climb or use as a block or a more open area where you can jump to either side.
Often the first charge will be a “bluff charge” to test your reaction. Back off in the direction of your tactical retreat. If it actually charges, think of it like a bull coming at you and you are a matador. Hold steady and jump out of the way at the last moment so that it charges past you. Get up quickly and prepare for the next charge. Hopefully it will get tired before you do. You are not a food they are used to eating so their basic intent is to remove you as a threat and to get on with their life.
There is a more detailed article with great advice, including tips for dog walkers, on boar encounters on the Friends of the Boar website.
HOW TO REPORT A WILD BOAR IN KRAKÒW?
Generally they should be ignored, though if for any reason, you are concerned for your own safety or the safety of others then report the sighting and reason why you feel threatened, to the Police or City Guard who will contact specialists who are contracted to deal with boars in the city.
A wild boar encounter can be as exciting as it is scary, even cute if they have their wee baby piglets running along behind, but please stay safe, be sensible and don’t do anything to harm yourself or these wonderful beasts.