Though not originally from the United States, wild hogs have lived on the North American continent as long as European settlers. Introduced by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in the 1500s, these animals have spread throughout the continent with the aid of humans, who enjoy hunting the hogs for sport. Domestic pigs and wild boars interbred in the wild, and now many hybrid populations of the animal exist. They may be referred to as wild hogs, wild boars, or feral swine.
Since domestic and feral populations of the animal have participated in inbreeding for many years, wild hog appearances are diverse. Depending on the individual's lineage, feral swine may be amply covered in coarse, long hair or look more similar to domestic pigs with sparse, short hairs. Their ears are either relatively small or large and floppy. Tails may be straight and covered in hair or curly and hairless. Individuals may or may not have tusks. The average male wild hog weighs 200 pounds, while females average 175 pounds. Feral swine may appear black, tan, reddish-brown, white, or pink in color.
Native to Eurasia, wild boars now enjoy a range that extends throughout Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and the Southeastern United States, occurring most frequently in states like Texas, Florida, and California. They are adaptable creatures that live in tidal marshes, mountain ranges, hardwood forests, and nearly any habitat that offers suitable cover and food. Since wild hogs have no sweat glands, they need access to sources of water in which they can wallow to cool off.
Are wild hogs known to enter homes or yards?
Though wild hogs have not historically invaded residential areas, they have been increasingly more of a nuisance in residential neighborhoods. Wild hogs also forage on crop fields and devastate yearly yields for farmers. Despite the fact that they rarely live or search for food on residential property, wild hogs still pose a threat to humans.
Do wild hogs harm people or property?
Feral swine cause an estimated $1.5 billion in damages annually across the nation. Their rooting and foraging behaviors expose bare soil, disrupt fields of vegetation, and contribute to soil erosion. Their diet puts them in competition with other species of wildlife, like black bears and mule deer. Wild boars are also pests of farmland and consume crops while spreading diseases to livestock.
Additionally, wild hogs host over 35 types of parasites that threaten the health of humans, livestock, and native wildlife. They also carry five waterborne pathogens that can be transferred to humans. E. coli, campylobacter, salmonella, cryptosporidium, and giardia all compromise the water quality in areas where wild hogs are present.
Control and Safety
Since they are strong and intelligent, wild hogs are hard to control. The main method of exclusion involves putting up fences around properties. However, this is often expensive, time-consuming, and not necessarily effective as feral swine are strong enough to uproot fencing.
Trapping and Removal
Exclusion methods are only sparingly effective, and the best way to eradicate problematic populations of wild boars is trapping. Given their girth and resourcefulness, wild hogs can be dangerous to people who approach the animals without formal training. The wildlife technicians at Critter Control have the ability to capture the pigs in a safe and humane manner.
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