Wild hogs are omnivorous and eat both natural fauna and planted farm crops and also wild animals of all sizes and species. Wild Pigs have heads and shoulders designed for plowing up the ground with their snouts and sharp tusks to unearth roots of plants with dirty, but apparently tasty, tuberous roots.
Hogs are perfectly equipped to dig up the burrows of ground-dwelling animals. They locate, kill and eat tens of thousands of small and young animals that succumb to their violent attacks when they are caught unawares. Ground-nesting birds are a wild hog favorite; wild hogs of all ages attempt to kill or run off the adults. They eat the eggs, and trample the nesting grounds.
They compete with deer and wild turkeys for some of the same food sources, causing them to migrate out of the area when food becomes scarce. Studies have shown that the biodiversity of lower vertebrates in forested areas infested with wild hogs is 26% lower than normal.
They also trample, root around in, and wallow in natural and stock ponds, streams, and springs; polluting them for fish or for other animals to drink. Another invasive spinoff is introducing disease-bearing bacteria into the water that can go far downstream. In fact, feral pigs can host up to 34 diseases that livestock, wildlife, or human beings can catch from contact with them, or even eating their meat or being bitten my them.
Wild hogs also do tremendous damage to farmland and other private property. They uproot and trample valuable crops in fields, destroy gardens and landscaping, and can break down or root under fences, allowing other animals to escape. They can be quite aggressive and are able to inflict serious injuries with their tusks and teeth.
On occasion, they wander into the yards of rural homes, they can pose a serious danger to curious pets and children. In Texas, the state with the largest feral hog population, their damage cost farmers $50 million a year.
As many as 40 of the 50 United States report sightings of feral hogs and the best estimates are that at least 28 states currently have established, breeding populations of this damaging invasive species. Estimates of the total number of wild hogs in the US are as high as 9 million.
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