Scientific name: Sus scrofa
What Are They?
While feral pigs may look similar to domestic pigs, they are much more destructive. They were brought to the United States as domestic pigs from Europe and Asia. Over time, some have escaped or were released intentionally, creating free-ranging feral swine populations. Prolific breeders, they can produce four to eight babies per litter. Feral swine are highly adaptable, but prefer habitats with an abundant supply of water and dense cover. They are aggressive and pose serious ecological, economic, and health threats.
Are They Here Yet?
There was one report of a feral swine population on the Olympic Peninsula, but it is no longer there. The Quinault Indian Nation hunted them in the past. Feral swine were sighted in southwest Washington and are abundant in California, Oregon, and Idaho.
Why Should I Care?
Feral swine are aggressive animals that may be extremely destructive to fields, fences, and facilities. Their wallows can affect ponds and wetlands, muddying the water and destroying aquatic vegetation. They can strip a field of crops in one night and pose a threat to ground-nesting birds and some endangered species. Feral swine also can transmit diseases and parasites, such as pseudorabies, brucellosis, and tuberculosis, to livestock and people.
How Do We Stop Them?
Feral swine are listed as deleterious exotic wildlife by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and are considered illegal under state law. It is unlawful to import, hold, possess, propagate, offer for sale, sell, transfer, or release feral swine.
What Are Their Characteristics?
- Feral pigs exhibit wide variation in color and size.
- Their hair is coarse with long bristles, and the color ranges from black, gray, brown, blonde, or red to spotted combinations. Generally, they are black.
- The tail is moderately long, with sparse hair.
- The average female weighs between 77–330 pounds. The average wild boar weighs from 130-440 pounds.
- The elongated snout is flattened on the end, and is tough and flexible. The males have four tusks that grow continually and can be extremely sharp. The upper tusks are as much as 3-5 inches long, and usually are worn or broken from use.