The Rampage of Wild Pigs
Wild pigs are becoming a very big, (not a pun), problem in many areas of the USA. These animals are capable of TRIPLING in population every four months. And that's a lot of hog!
Pigs are NOT native to America. Certain evidence from paleontology shows pigs originated in present day Europe, Asia, and Africa. The feral pigs roaming the hills and dells of the USA are descendants of those types of domestic pigs, imported here by explorers and settlers. In many cases today's wild pigs have bred with modern domestic pigs that either got loose, or were let loose, and in some cases hugs varieties have been the result.
America is the native home to an animal known as the peccary a pig like animal, which is actually a different family, genus, and species of the domestic or wild pig.
Some believe the first pigs were domesticated in ancient times as a form of garbage disposal . Pigs will eat just about anything! They will eat plant and animal matter, fresh or rotted. This may be why they are considered an "un-clean" food by certain religious groups. Although any USDA certified pork available in stores are never fed or allowed to eat meat, or meat by-products.
Pigs are even toed, sharing this "cloven hoof" characteristic with other animals such as cattle, sheep, goats. camel, and deer. And their sub-order include hippopotamuses.
Tracks left by adult pigs sometimes resemble those made by calves weighing up to 200 pounds! In soft ground dewclaws will show on adult pig tracks.
Wild pigs are beginning to dominate areas of Texas, and eastward, along with vast expanses of California, and Hawaii. For a map showing over population of this invasive animal in the continental United States, please visit the link below.
Wild pigs can cause a a lot of damage! They "root" or "grub", destroying crops, pastures, and native plant life. They damage farm ponds, tanks, and other water sources, often contaminating these sources, since pigs don't bother to eliminate body wastes away from a water source. Meaning they tend to pee or poo anywhere and anytime the urge hits them. This makes the health dangers to livestock, native wildlife, and humans a true issue.
Wild pigs have been documented as the cause of destruction in fragile plant communities within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and other preserves. They have been known to damage fences on private property as well, and can accomplish great damage to a lawns, fields, gardens or even golf courses in as little time as a single night.
As predators, wild pigs kill and eat other animals. In 1991, 20 years ago , wild pigs were reported to have killed over 1,470 goats and exotic game animals in Texas and California alone! These acts of predations usually happen on lambing or calving grounds, and the pigs that indulge in these kinds of destructive actions almost always become expert at it.
Wild pigs are able to transmit disease to livestock, and humans. These sicknesses can include bovine tuberculosis, foot and mouth disease, cholera, African swine fever, swine brucellosis, trichinosis, pseudorabies, and others.
In the East Carolinas, Kosrae Island was infected with cholera, transmitted by wild pigs, and resulted in the complete decimation of all domestic pigs on the island! Similair cases in varied livestock has been reported for years.
In pretty much every state in the union, wild pigs are unprotected, and classified as an agricultural pest, so these animals can be harvested all year long. (Check with your state for regulations before you go pig hunting, just to be sure!) In Missouri, a state conservation pamphlet asks people to kill any and all wild pigs on sight. If killing the pig is not an option for the person seeing it, they are asked to contact the state conservation department at once to report the location of the pig.
One of the real problems with diminishing the wild pig population is the fact that these animals are very smart! So they are able to discern situations other less intelligent animals would never realize, and so avoid capture, or being killed.
Wild pigs have a highly developed sense of smell. More so than even a blood hound. So it is not an easy task to sneak up on an unsuspecting wild pig.
Wild pigs can become very aggressive. They will at times not only "stand their ground", but will even attack dogs, or humans.
A close friend of my brother was once "treed" by a pack of wild pigs in the Big Bend National Park in Texas. The pigs, (probably looking for supper), would not leave their target, and he had to stay in the tree all night long with his small pet dog!
If you are planning a camping trip, check with the local conservation department where you plan to visit, and find out about the wild pig population. Have a plan in place to deal with meeting wild pigs on the trail, or at your campsite.
And... it won't hurt my feelings if you kill any or all wild pigs you encounter!