Wild Hogs

Basic information

Pigs (Sus scrofa) are not native to North America. The species was first introduced to the West Indies by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and then to the continental United States by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1539 when he landed at the Florida coast. Today’s free-range pig population in the United States is made up of feral pigs, Eurasian wild boar, and hybrid populations resulting from cross-breeding of Eurasian wild boar and feral pigs. Though there are morphological differences among the three, they are all referred to by the same scientific name and all recognized as exotic invasive species in the United States. Wild pigs are now the United States’ most abundant free-ranging introduced ungulate. The term ungulate refers to animals which have hooves.

Diet: Omnivores; plants, invertebrates, insects, and sometimes intentional predation of various vertebrate species 

Wild pigs have been listed as one of the top 100 worst exotic invasive species in the world. Most damage caused by wild pigs is through either rooting or the direct consumption of plant and animal materials. Rooting is the mechanism by which wild pigs unearth roots, tubers, fungi, and burrowing animals. They use their snouts to dig into the ground and turn over soil in search of food resources, altering the normal chemistry associated with nutrient cycling within the soil. 

Mating Season: Can occur every month - peaks in winter and spring

Females (sows) have multiple estrous cycles annually and can breed throughout the year with an average litter size of 4-6 young per litter. The average gestation period for a sow is approximately 115 days and they can breed again within a week of weaning their young, which can occur approximately one month after birth. They have an average lifespan of 20 years.

If you find an injured and/ or baby wildlife do not handle the animal. Contact your local Animal Control or Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Three Fun Facts About Wild Hogs

  • Wild boars are nocturnal animals (active during the night). They will spend 12h in sleep during the day, hidden in the nests made of leaves.
  • An acute sense of smell allows wild boars to detect an edible root or tuber 25 cm (10 inches) below the soil. 
  • Wild boars tend to live in groups that are made up of 6 to 20 members, but may contain over 100 individuals. 

Encountered a Wild Hog?

The increase in the population of wild boars may result in a higher frequency of human-wild boar conflict as they wander into parks, public roads and residential areas. Although they appear shy, they are still wild animals and are unpredictable in behavior which could pose a risk to public safety.

Like many other wild animals, wild boars will only attack if they are cornered or if they feel threatened. Female wild boars are very protective of their young and can easily be provoked. Wild boars are strong animals that can run relatively fast.

If encountered, be calm and move slowly away from the animal. Do not attempt to approach or feed the animal. Keep a safe distance and do not corner or provoke the animal (i.e. by using flash to take photos of animal). If you see adults with piglets, leave them alone. These are potentially more dangerous because they may attempt to defend their young.

How to keep wild hogs out

Wild hogs may damage fences while foraging for food due to their digging behavior. Ensure that fences are made from sturdy material like galvanized steel and properly maintained with a solid concrete base that is dug into the ground. This is especially so if you grow food plants such as edible roots and fruits that will attract wild hogs. Also, dispose all of your food waste properly.