America is facing ‘time-bomb’ explosion of millions of ‘super pigs’ that can reproduce at just three months old, grow up to 400lbs and destroy thousands of square miles of farms and livestock
- Research scientist Jack Mayer said: ‘It’s a crazy situation with everything that’s happened in what I call the Pig Bomb, which has exploded in North America’
- Mayer warned about their rate of reproduction: ‘There’s not another animal that can put little feet on the ground quicker than a wild pig’
- Global warming is partly to blame as more piglets, of which there can be at least 10 in a litter, are surviving
- Once a pig escapes its enclose it becomes wild and begins to grow tusks. They then mate with other wild pigs or boar and the offspring become feral
- The wild pigs are covering an area of the U.S. and Canada equivalent to 35,000 square miles each year
- Some states and Canadian provinces have launched educational campaigns for people to spot the animals, report them and ultimately kill to curb their numbers
The United States is on the cusp of a huge pig ‘time bomb’ with feral hogs increasing in huge numbers.
Research scientist Dr. Jack Mayer, a zoologist who has been researching wild pigs for 40 years, has warned that the population could keep on growing unless there is a sudden swine flu epidemic.
‘It’s a crazy situation with everything that’s happened in what I call the Pig Bomb, which has exploded in North America,’ Jack Mayer told The Daily Beast about the wild population of six million and two million in Texas alone.
Feral hogs are digging up farms and eating livestock as states battle to control populations
‘There’s not another animal that can put little feet on the ground quicker than a wild pig.’
Mayer blames global warming for increasing the survival rate of newborn piglets and producing more acorns, bulbs, roots and tubers for them to eat.
They can start reproducing at just three months old and do so twice a year.
California and Texas have also encouraged recreational hunting as a way to reduce their pig populations, but even if three quarters of the population is killed off, they would be able to fully repopulate within three years.
A research scientist from the Savannah River National Laboratory South Carolina warned about their rate of reproduction: ‘There’s not another animal that can put little feet on the ground quicker than a wild pig’
Jack Mayer (left), author of Wild Pigs in the United States (right), has warned of a ‘pig bomb’ more dangerous than sharks. He blames global warming for increasing the survival rate of piglets
Across the U.S. as a whole there are currently believed to me as many as nine million feral swine in 39 states and they are expanding at a rate of 35,000 square miles a year.
‘I’ve heard it referred to as a feral swine bomb,’ said Dale Nolte, manager of the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to The Atlantic.
‘They multiply so rapidly. To go from a thousand to two thousand, it’s not a big deal. But if you’ve got a million, it doesn’t take long to get to 4 million, then 8 million.’
The pigs aren’t the cuddly cartoon kind but a mixture of breeds coupled with wild boar.
There are thought to be around nine million feral pigs across the U.S. and Canada
Damage to a farmer’s field by feral swine is pictured in this file photo. The animals cause billions of dollars of damage every year to farm communities and fields
Tom Meister, a wildlife biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation, examines some damage caused by feral hogs to a field on a farm near Steelville, Missouri in 2019
‘It creates what we’d call super-pigs,’ said Ryan Brook, a biologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.
The ‘super-pigs’ are able to grow large and can have litters of 10 or more each.
‘Pig populations are completely out of control,’ Brook says. ‘The efforts to deal with them are about 1 percent of what’s currently needed.’ He says that his province of Saskatchewan will soon have more wild pigs than people.
There is a growing urge to deal with the problem as the animals are responsible for an estimated $2.5 billion worth of damage each year as they plough through crops, destroy plants, attack calves, lambs and pregnant livestock.
The feral pigs carry bacterial diseases and parasites too.
So far just one place in the U.S. and another in Canada are attempting to track and cull the expanding pig populations.
The Canadian province of Ontario is educating the public, collecting data, and testing how to track and remove swine while in the northern state of Montana which has no wild pigs at all.
Feral pigs roam near LaBelle, Florida. The state is second only to Texas in the number of non-native wild pigs living in the state
The wild pigs are covering an area of the U.S. and Canada equivalent to 35,000 square miles each year. Some states and provinces have launched educational campaigns for people to spot the animals, report them and ultimately kill them in an effort to curb their numbers
Montanans have been educated on the issue with a catchy campaign called ‘Squeal on Pigs’ that encourages residents to call a 24-hour hotline should they see any sightings so wildlife staff can trap and kill the animals.
Pigs end up going wild the moment they managed to escape from their farm enclosures.
After breeding in the wild, the offspring are classed as feral and grow tusks.
They also roam over vast distances of up to 19 square miles and sometimes turn nocturnal making them even harder to track.
Ontario, meanwhile, has been tracking pigs since 2018 and like Montana, educating the public.
A website was created for people to report sightings together with pictures and comments. So far, there have been reports of around 400 pigs outside of their fences.
Now, as other regions across the continent appear to be at risk of feral swines coming onto their lands, other states and Canadian territories including North Dakota and the Yukon Territory are introducing similar educational campaigns and encouraging people to report the animals if they’re spotted in the hope of keeping them out of the area for good.
Once a pig escapes its enclose it becomes wild and begins to grow tusks. They then mate with other wild pigs or boar and the offspring become feral
Earlier this year a hog weighing almost 500lbs was found in southeast Texas
Joel Dudley, owner of Nuisance Wildlife Removal, and Mike Huckabay shot and killed the 488lb feral hog in The Preserve – formerly known as Cypress Lakes, Texas in February
Another six hogs killed on a hunting night in Texas earlier this year each weighed 250lbs