In the United States, the number of feral hogs has increased significantly. With this increase, the number of problems the wild hogs cause is also growing. Many myths revolve around this invasive species about the damage they can do, their history, biology, and distribution. Let’s look at some feral hog facts.
History and Distribution
- Feral is a term that refers to returning to an untamed state from domestication.
- Swine were domesticated thousands of years ago from wild stock in Asia and Europe.
- They were first introduced in North America by the Spanish explorers. The confined and free-ranging domestic swine escaped from the Hispanic and Anglo settlers and then established a feral population.
- Today in the United States, wild hogs are found in 38 states.
- There are approximately 4-5 million feral hogs in the US, and 2.6 million are in Texas.
- The European wild boar, domestic swine, and feral hogs are all classed as Sus scrofa. Contrary to what some people think, the feral hogs are not closely related to the American native collared peccary (aka javelina).
- The feral hog’s coat can be different colors, but it is mostly solid black.
- Female hogs are reproductive from the age of 8-10 months. The female can produce between 10-12 piglets per litter, but the most common in the wild is 4-6 young ones per litter.
The feral hog’s gestation period is 115 days, and the female hog is capable of having two litters every year, but they typically have one.
- A group of young feral hogs of different ages and females is called a sounder. The boars (male hogs) move independently from the sounders, but they often join them for short periods. Boars are known to move far and wide, much greater distances than the sounders searching for breeding opportunities.
- Feral hogs are omnivores, eating both animals and plants.
- The damage caused by feral hogs is so significant, especially in Texas, where farmers are on the constant lookout for this invasive species.
- The hogs foul water sources for wildlife and humans.
- They consume native wildlife and plants, which jeopardizes their health and population. Feral hogs compete for food and habitat with the native animals.
- They root for food, which causes erosion and dangerously compromises sensitive ecosystems, and renders some areas impassable by farm machinery.
- The young of livestock and wildlife are prey for hogs.
- Diseases are another risk of feral hogs. They harbor diseases such as pseudorabies (which affects cattle, dogs, cats, sheep, and goats), swine brucellosis (which humans can contract), and others that are a risk to livestock.
- Hogs carry parasites that are harmful to livestock.
Gum Log Plantation
Here at Gum Log Plantation, we help control this invasive species through hunting. We have different packages for day and night hog hunts. Have an exciting hunting experience and take home some delicious meat for your freezer. For more information call us at 229-318-9015.