Wild Hog

WILD HOG

*During the early 2000’s, Linda Adams, a former resident of TGO, wrote a series of articles for the TGO Nature Center titled “a Page From Nature”.  This article was a part of that series and was published in 2000.  The original article did not include any photographs so I added some a photo submitted by a TGO Nature Center member.  Enjoy!

 

TGO Nature Center, Nature, Education, Mammal, Wild Pig, Wild Hog, Feral Pig, Hog, Pig, Photo Album

Photo Courtesy of Rick Ellwanger

 

One of the unpopular animals in residence here at The Great Outdoors is the wild hog; who is also referred to as feral hogs. Wild hogs are pigs of mostly domestic origin living in a wild state. In Florida they are nicknamed, “razorbacks,” referring to the prominent backbone on thin animals and the long, coarse hairs on their back which stand erect when the “razorback” is agitated.

Pigs were brought to the West Indies by Columbus in 1493, and the Spanish explorer DeSoto brought them to Florida in 1539 to, provide food for his troops. The wild hogs found throughout Florida today are a mixture of Spanish wild boars, European hunting stock, Russian boars, and the domestic hogs from farms in Florida that were released to roam free. (Florida had “open ranges” until 1952.) Their predominant color is black, although brown hogs and spotted hogs are also common.

Wild hogs usually roam in groups of several females with their young. The boars (males) are generally solitary except when associated with breeding groups, but the females and young hogs are highly social. Hogs are very adaptable and found in a number of different habitats, but they prefer wooded areas close to water. They are not territorial.

Wild hogs are opportunistic feeders. They eat nearly anything, including roots, tubers, grasses, small animals and carrion. Mast, which consists of fallen acorns and nuts, is a favorite food. They feed mostly at night, especially in summer when it is hot during the day.

If their population is not kept under control, wild hogs often devastate natural habitats. They consume such large amounts of food that they may reduce the food supply available to other animals, such as deer, rabbits, squirrels and turkey.

Their rooting causes even more damage, which is their natural feeding behavior. They badly disrupt native vegetation, making it look like it has been plowed. Wild hogs are a reservoir of serious diseases. They carry pseudorabies, a disease that can be transmitted and fatal to panthers, as well as diseases transmissible to other mammals, including man and livestock.

Wild hogs breed year round. The females have one or two litters per year, with 5 to 12 piglets in a litter. Infant mortality is relatively low, although the baby pigs sometimes fall prey to hawks, owls, and eagles. In South Florida, panthers prey upon adult wild hogs, and bobcats prey upon young wild hogs throughout the state.

Wild hogs are not aggressive and generally run away if approached in the woods. They can be very vicious when cornered, however. A 5-foot boar can weigh as much as 400 pounds, with sharp, 6-inch long tusks (most hogs are in the 200 pound range). The tusks are primarily used for grubbing in the ground but can be used for defense when they are threatened.

Hunting is the primary cause of death for wild hogs in Florida. With the landowners permission, wild hogs can be shot year round on private property

Every year hogs in TGO are trapped in an effort to control the damage they cause.

To see more photos of Wild Hogs, click on this Wild Hog Photo Album link.

 

TGO Nature Center – “Living in Harmony with Nature

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