Appearance. The Woolly Boar, or Snow Hog, is a stocky pig covered in long coarse hair that protects them in the tundra of northern Sarvonia. You can tell the gender of a mature animal by the colour of its hair: If the coat is white, it is a sow, but if it is black, it is a mature boar and you should leave immediately, or risk harm to yourself from his long tusks. All young pigs are coloured the same, white, and it's the male hormone that causes the colour change. The body of the male pig will never get over seven palmspans, but even a beast that small packs a lot of power. It can weigh between seven and 18 hebs, so it may look small but its girth is quite immense. The Boar's feet are large, and the bottoms of their hooves are sharp and bumpy to grip the icy terrain with more confidence. The head of the Snow Hog looks like any other pig's head, except the ears are much smaller as to stop heat loss, and the snout is much longer, so the animal can root around even beneath the deeper snow drifts in its territory. This is also the primary reason why Woolly Boars have such long, sharp, menacing tusks. The tusk alone can reach lengths of four and a half palmspans, and it is slightly curved down for the use of breaking through frozen water for a drink, and digging for frozen roots and grasses.
Although the tusks are mainly for feeding, the boars have no problem using them in self-defense against their main predator, the Mari or Ashmarian Wolf, which preys on the slow, lumbering herbivore. The wolf is very effective in the snow, and although most times the hunt ends with a feeding frenzy, sometimes the fight ends on the tip of a Boar tusk.
Special Abilities. None, save fact that a fat, slow beast like this can survive in the frozen world, even against such adversaries as the Mari.
The tusk of the Hog, if harvested, is worth a lot, for it is said that it is an item which brings the wearer good luck in all things, but especially with defending one-self from unprovoked attacks.
This idea comes from the Myth of the stranded Kuglimz woman who fought off an entire pack of Maris with the use of only a pair of Woolly Boar tusks she found in the cave she was hiding in. She had apparently walked off into the woods and got caught in a terrible, freak snowstorm. She decided it would be best to wait it out before walking back to her village, but a passing group of wolves had the same idea, and they found her in the cave they had chosen to hole up in. As the fable goes, the woman defended herself and killed seven wolves before the rest of the pack fled, and she slept soundly for the rest of the blizzard.
Territory. The Woolly Boar can be found anywhere north of the Tandala Highlands, throughout the northern part of Sarvonia. There they are evenly distributed among the plains and forests, where they take up residence when even they cannot handle the cold. No one knows why they first migrated there, but some say they were over hunted by man and forced across the mountains into the freezing cold temperatures. Others say that the Dragon's Maw keeps them from crossing the pass into the warmer climate, for a Boar would be a nice meal for a hungry dragon. Either way, not a single Woolly Boar has been sighted in the province of Nermeran or any place south of that.
Habitat/Behaviour. This pig acts like any other pig, spending its days looking for food and lolling around. The beast must, however, enter the forests at night, where a group huddles together for warmth, or it would surely freeze to death with the lack of the sun's heat. The habitat of the beast is almost anywhere that has food available, if only under a few feet of snow and ice.
When attacked, all the females and young pigs make for the relative safety of forest, while the big, burly males form an arrow shaped rear guard, and any wolf that overtakes the V are surrounded and spitted by the deadly tusks if the situation allows. But the pigs have done this trick too many times, and the wolves therefore often try to split the pack, sending one half to chase the pigs towards the other half, where it feasts on the defenseless young, while avoiding the smaller tusked females.
Diet. The staple of the Snow Hog's diet is the Alth'ho Grass, which can be found by scratching through the surface of the snow and pulling the frozen plant out of the tundra. There are other plants devoured by the animal but these plants are less common in Northern Sarvonia, like the Yahrle herb for instance, and the roots of any tree they come across. The pig is classified as an herbivore, but in worst case scenarios, this hairy hog has been known to commit infanticide, but only in very existential conditions, just before starvation occurs.
Mating. Snow sows are humorously said to be always pregnant. A mature female can have as many as 40 young a year, coming in four broods a year, with one litter per season. The reason that they give birth so often to so many young lies in the jaws of the Mari. It alone consumes almost as many piglets as are born, and with the deadly cold the population of pigs is kept steadily low.
Information provided by Ralhag