Monday, August 26, 2013

Sanglier Invasion or the March of the Wild Boar

On one of our nature strolls on Saturday, up at Breil sur Roya, at the foothills of the Alps,  Jeanne and I came across a property whose fencing was festooned with small net bags seemingly filled with wool. 

 A bright old lady meditatively pacing her garden answered my question.  "It is human hair from the 'coiffeuse' ", she said.  It was meant to discourage the wild boar from digging under the fence and coming into the yard all night into the wee hours and digging for roots and tubers. "It doesn't work" she sighed, "we get more every year and with lots of babies. We can't go out after dark."

 It seems that a litter of 18 young "sanglier" had been spotted in her area.... that is a greatly increased number from litters of even 6 years back.   I have also heard that the boar in Europe have adapted their reproduction so that they reach fertility earlier and produce more and larger litters.   In Berlin they have been found marching boldly into the city. 

Monsieur's 19th century lead figure of a Sanglier or wild boar. 

In France, the law prevents shooting the boar at certain times of year and those who come in close to homes..... so of course, the boar have figured this out and are coming in boldly for foraging... which includes just about everything including carrion, refuse and small insects as well as grass and roots and tubers.   

When Jeanne and I  came rushing back down from our hike ,  we were not being chased by boar, but by flies, biting ones.  Nobody had warned us about this nuisance so we cut the hike short at La Brigue.

  But when we reached a picnic spot that Jeanne knew about to eat our lunch, we found the most absurd "Edith Anne" sized benches and tables.  I wonder if the boar have been bothering the locals while eating their lunches.  Or can you explain the hilarious height of our picnic table? 

Breil sur Roya walk

Jeanne just before we waded for a few minutes in the cold, cold brooke

The blue gate

Boar free garden, what is their secret?

Some friendly Dutch hikers took our picture .  Look at my legs hanging off the bench.  I felt about 9 years old. 


  1. Mary, your blog piece on "sanglier" reminded me of our lunch last week. I bought about a 1/4 lb of the most incredible ham that I've ever tasted. It's Jamón ibérico

    If you can get some you will be amazed by the rich long flavor.

    Jamón ibérico de bellota from the prized free ranging Iberico pigs of southwestern Spain that are rich in flavor and revered as the best cured ham in the world; fed on a diet of acorns These hams are aged for at least three years before being released and often labelled 'reserva' and 'gran reserva' to denote their age.($100. per pound in San Francisco.)

    Jamon Serrano cured in the mountains of Spain where dryer, cooler drying conditions impart robust flavors; slightly less expensive than the Iberico

  2. Yes, Roge, Jeanne and I have had some of this ham and took it to a birthday party when in Marbella. It disappeared off the table in about 4 seconds.

  3. You look adorable, mary