U.S. Markets closed
  • S&P 500

    3,629.65
    -5.76 (-0.16%)
     
  • Dow 30

    29,872.47
    -173.77 (-0.58%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    12,094.40
    +57.62 (+0.48%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    1,845.02
    -8.51 (-0.46%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    44.94
    -0.77 (-1.68%)
     
  • Gold

    1,811.10
    +5.60 (+0.31%)
     
  • Silver

    23.43
    -0.01 (-0.05%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.1903
    -0.0016 (-0.1309%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    0.8780
    -0.0040 (-0.45%)
     
  • Vix

    21.25
    -0.39 (-1.80%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3347
    -0.0036 (-0.2683%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    104.2500
    -0.1900 (-0.1819%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    17,289.63
    -689.54 (-3.84%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    338.29
    -32.22 (-8.70%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    6,356.13
    -34.96 (-0.55%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    26,537.31
    +240.45 (+0.91%)
     

America's Rapid Feral Hog Problem Is Creating a 'Super-Pig' Uprising

Caroline Delbert
·3 min read

From Popular Mechanics

  • America has a major feral pig problem, including hybrid vigor "super-pigs."

  • The combination of wild boars and the robust fertility of agricultural pigs adds up to 9 million feral pigs and counting.

  • Call your local wild hog hotline to report any pig activities.

In 30 years, feral pigs have expanded from 17 states to 39, reaching a population high enough to constitute a “feral swine bomb,” researchers say. We know what you’re thinking:

In August 2019, Willie McNabb and his yard full of feral hogs became an overnight internet sensation. But McNabb’s meme led to an increased awareness of the real fact of wild hogs, reported recently by The Atlantic, as something that millions of Americans deal with and that is a genuine public menace and destructive force.

🐗 You like badass beasts. So do we. Let's nerd out over them together.

The 2017 film Okja posited a Cujo-like super-pig, but researchers say that idea is now close to a reality for some groups of feral pigs. That’s because most wild pigs in the U.S. are some level of hybrid between domestic pigs and wild boars, creating heterosis or hybrid vigor. Britannica explains:

“[T]he increase in such characteristics as size, growth rate, fertility, and yield of a hybrid organism over those of its parents. Plant and animal breeders exploit heterosis by mating two different pure-bred lines that have certain desirable traits. The first-generation offspring generally show, in greater measure, the desired characteristics of both parents. This vigour may decrease, however, if the hybrids are mated together.”

What results from these naturally occurring hybrids is a generation of wild pigs that can have the protective fur of the wild boar and the carefully bred huge litter size of the domestic pig, for example.

McNabb drew attention to Texas in particular, which has the largest wild hog problem. There are an estimated 1.5 million wild hogs in that state alone, with another half a million in Florida. States offer almost total freedom for hunters who have all the right licensing for their firearms and are acting within state gun laws otherwise, and some even offer traps.

There are similarities between wild hogs and populations of small wild cats in other nations. In both cases, a domesticated population can still have robust hybrid young with wild species, creating a new group that’s especially harmful to farmers. In the U.S., even out-of-control populations of herbivores like wild deer can cause a great deal of destruction, let alone gigantic groups of one of our smartest fellow omnivores.

The Atlantic says the first generation of pigs that break out of farm enclosures will grow tusks (typically removed by farmers) and start to roam over a 20-mile-plus range if needed. They’ll even turn nocturnal if circumstances require it.

And, as is often the case, some human error has played a part: leisure hunters have imported wild pigs for sport hunts. Now, many states offer hotlines where residents can report, well, 30 to 50 wild hogs in their yards—or any other pig sightings.

You Might Also Like