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The Rampage of Wild Pigs

Updated on February 3, 2011

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.

Many hunters use well trained dogs to catch wild pigs.
Many hunters use well trained dogs to catch wild pigs.
Some trappers bait wild pigs into enclosures to contain them until disposal can be carried out.
Some trappers bait wild pigs into enclosures to contain them until disposal can be carried out.

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!

Razor sharp teeth!
Razor sharp teeth!

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!


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    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

      I knew that these pigs were dangerous, but I had no idea that they preyed on other animals. That makes them even more unlikely candidates for supper.

      Many wild animals are causing problems. Since food hunting has minimized, they are becoming plentiful and more aggressive. Raccoons walk across my yard like pets and will put up a defense if we try to chase them away. Three chased my nephew who barely escaped after jumping onto the back of a truck.

      Getting back to wild pigs--they are located in the far southern area of my state, but I have never seen any.

    • profile image

      AlohaKid 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for providing and education to those who (bless their hearts) don't see the damage along with diseases these animals carry. I live in Hawaii, the pig population has gotten out of hand here. Wild pigs also have attributed to ruining the coral beds along the shoreline. The pigs eat much of the foliage that protects the heavy rains from entering the ocean, what hits the coral beds after pigs have destroyed the land is water and huge amounts of mud which kills ocean life (sea turtles included). These pigs are also very dangerous to humans, along with the diseases you've reported I have friends who have been chased down indiscriminately just for being in their own yard at dark. A couple have been bitten or impaled by their tusks. Nasty things they are. Thanks for the education!

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 6 years ago from USA

      Recon Jack, Thank you for reading, commenting, and complimenting! I will be over to read your Hub shortly!

    • Recon Jack profile image

      Recon Jack 6 years ago from United States

      An excellent and informative hub. I have been researching this topic for several years and have posted a similar hub proposing a solution. Unfortunately lethal removal is a significant portion of the solution. There really isn't much option considering the wide array of diseases carried. This is a fine example of a dirty job that someone has to do. Wild Pigs do 900 million dollars of damage annually in the US.

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 6 years ago from USA

      Les Trois Chenes, thank you for the comment! It is my understanding that there is actually a world-wide "pig explosion" going on. I personally don't understand why or how this is happening, but I would think the problems will only mainifest more quickly if a solution isn't soon found.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 6 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      I live in Limousin, S W France and wild pigs are a problem here for the farmers. I've seen them from time to time but at a distance - I didn't know that they could be so big or that they killed other animals! Many thanks for this great hub.

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 6 years ago from USA

      Twilight Lawns, you're welcome!

      It is my understanding that some of the wild pigs taken are used to help feed hungry folks. Especially in Hawaii.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thanks for that really nice response to my comment. Seeing that large dead pig in the first picture, made me think that it could feed a hell of a lot of people. I hope, as you said, that that is their eventual outcome.

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 6 years ago from USA

      Twilight Lawns, Thank you for dropping by, reading and commenting!

      The wild pigs are really making things bad in some areas. In fact a ecoli outbreak was eventually traced to a spinach farm where wild pigs had fed, and eliminated! So the hazards to their rampage very real, and dangerous!

      As far as the people who participate in blood sport... your guess is as good as mine! I too am an animal lover and have an array of pets. I can't imagine killing an animal for fun or a "trophy"! I suppose that type of person has a compeletly different perpsective on life than you or I.

      I have no problem with a person taking game for food. Especially in today's economy when people are finding it harder to feed their families. But to kill just for the "joy" of killing is beyond me!

      Again, thank you for coming to see me!

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      An animal lover, I; but when I read through the hub, I was amazed and appalled to learn what damage these animals can perform. Tell me, though, why is it that the people who shoot and kill animals for sport are almost indecipherable from their prey?

      These pictures excepted, of course.

    • Wealthmadehealthy profile image

      Wealthmadehealthy 6 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

      Great hub. When I linked to the map though, it amazed me to see that areas which are claiming large amounts of pigs in TX are showing up in the largely populated areas of Dallas, Houston, Austin of course, if Moose go inside the stores in Alaska, this map should not bother me right??

      Also, with all the lands in blue, certainly this is not the only area these monsters reside. LOL (and they say things grow bigger in TX, but these pigs are really big!!)

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 6 years ago from USA

      Eiddwen, Thank you for dropping by and commenting!

      These pigs not only add to problems of erosion, (Hawaii is truly suffering because of wild pigs), but they can also start to dominate feed meant for stock animals like cattle. In essence causing the livestock owners to produce less valuable animals and to "fatten up" these pesty wild pigs unintentionally.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      I also did not know too much about these wild pigs and in this neck of the woods I will be unlikely to see any.

      However I love reading anything on nature and wildlife and this was a great hub with great photos as well.

      An awesome and vote up here

      Thank you so much for sharing

      take care


    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 6 years ago from USA

      dahoglund, yes the wild pig population is becoming a real problem for a lot of people.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I had heard of wild pigs but did not know they were so populated and dangerous.

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 6 years ago from USA

      breakfastpop, Right on! And the occasional tenderloin!

      Thanks for dropping by!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      The only thing I like about pigs is ribs and bacon!