Wild hogs rooting in your garden or damaging plants and landscaping? In most areas it is unlikely that wild pigs can be exterminated. It is theoretically possible, but the cost to do so is usually prohibitive. Landowners should plan for a long-term control program. Call Critter Control today to get an estimate on controlling wild pigs. Description Wild hogs are dangerous, destructive animals estimated to cause over $1.5 billion in damage to agricultural and environmental sites each year. The non-native animal was originally brought to North America by explorers and colonists as early as the 16th century. Invasive populations of wild hogs are now found in 45 states, including Hawaii. The intelligent animals are highly adaptable and can live in a variety of environments, from the dry deserts of Mexico to the freezing winters of North Dakota. They do not hold any protected status, and some states go so far as to encourage hunters to take as many wild hogs as they can in order to eradicate the problematic pigs. Appearance Although similar in appearance to domesticated pigs, wild hogs are well adapted to surviving outside the farm. They have thick, coarse coats of dark brown or black hair, short, pointed ears, and the ability to grow sharp tusks up to 5 or 6 inches long. Most wild hogs grow to be at least 100 pounds, with some specimens weighing in at over 500 pounds. Their thick hides and large muscles make them powerful creatures capable of swiftly running and swimming. Habitat Forests are the natural habitats of wild hogs, but they can adapt to live almost anywhere. They are opportunistic omnivores that will eat anything from nuts and acorns to fawns and newborn lambs. Hogs prefer to live in areas with plentiful dirt, as they like to dig muddy wallows to splash about and lay in. Wild hogs are social and usually live in groups known as sounders. During the day, the sounder rests in areas of dense vegetation and ventures out at dusk to root for food. Older adult boars tend to lead solitary lives, occupying a territory of one or two square miles and only joining up with other hogs during mating seasons. Entry Are wild hogs known to enter homes or yards? Hogs will not usually enter homes, but they commonly root through fields and yards at night in search of food. Wild hogs that have been trapped and released before tend to stay well away from humans and be very wary of traps or other dangers when entering fields. As opportunistic feeders, they will go wherever food is readily accessible, including sites prepared with bait. Damage Do wild hogs harm people or property? While rooting for food, wild hogs tear up the ground, removing saplings, seedlings, and new crops. They also trample vegetation in crop fields and leave entire sections of earth looking recently plowed, with the ground turned up during their search for roots, nuts, grubs, and other food in the soil. Livestock also face dangers from wild hogs, who may devour newborn calves or lambs and have been known to cannibalize domesticated piglets, as well. Additionally, they carry a vast array of transmittable and zoonotic diseases that can affect livestock and humans. The aggressive hogs will attack with little provocation, and older adult boars can pose a particular threat to hunters when they charge, slashing with sharp tusks up to half a foot long. Control and Safety Nonlethal control methods may find some success but are typically less effective and more expensive than other methods. Installing pig-proof fencing around the perimeter of a farm or pasture helps keep wild hogs away, as does employing guard animals, such as sheepdogs, to watch over livestock. In areas where fencing may not easily be installed, livestock owners should at least vaccinate their animals against diseases commonly carried by the pigs. Wild hogs cannot climb, so individuals who encounter a charging hog should seek safety by climbing a nearby tree to stay out of reach of the animal's tusks. Trapping and Removal Game hunting of wild hogs is a popular activity, and many states encourage the sport by allowing the animals to be killed at any time of year. Hunting is not as effective as trapping wild hogs, however. Residents experiencing property damage or safety threats due to the presence of wild hogs should contact an experienced wildlife control expert with the training to oversee the hog removal process knowledgeably and professionally. We can help you get rid of wild hog problems. Call today: 1.800.274.8837.