Wild Hog (Introduced and Nuisance)
Wild Pigs, which were originally introduced from Europe into the United States as a big game species, can be found in many areas of Tennessee. These pigs have recently been removed from big game status to a non-protected nuisance animal marked for eradication. Wild Pigs cause extensive damage to farm crops, wildlife habitat, contribute to extreme erosion and stream pollution, and carry diseases harmful to livestock or other animals as well as humans. Wild Pigs are also called feral pigs, wild hogs, wild boars, European wild boars, Russian wild boars, or razorbacks.
Description: A stocky, barrel-shaped mammal with a long pointed head and elongated, flattened snout. The feet are divided into two elongated, hoofed toes. Wild Pigs have a coat of long, bristly hairs that are usually black, but can also be brown or gray. Adults develop a thick, scruffy mane with stiff bristles tipped with blonde. Their pointed ears usually stand upright and their moderately long tail hangs straight down. Boars (males) are larger than sows (females). Boars have sharp tusks that can grow 3-5 inches long.
Length: 4.5 - 6.0 feet
Tail: ≤ 12 inches
Ears: 4.0 - 5.0 inches
Weight: 77 - 440 pounds
Similar Species: Domestic pigs lack shaggy dark fur, long curved tusks, and erect manes; tails are coiled as well.
Habitat: Wild Pigs live in many types of habitats, but are generally found in upland and bottomland hardwood forests, mountainous terrain, brushlands, or swamps.
Diet: They eat a wide variety of vegetation, including roots, tubers, acorns, grasses, fruits, and berries. Also, they eat crayfish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, mice, and eggs of birds.
Breeding information: Males fight aggressively, using their tusks, to secure access to females during the breeding season. Reproductive ability of Wild Pigs depends upon habitat and nutrition, but sows can produce up to 4 litters per year. Gestation lasts about 115 days resulting in a litter of 4-12 piglets. Piglets have pale stripes running the length of their body until they are 6 weeks old. They are able to follow their mother after 1 week and are weaned by 3 months. Mothers are extremely protective of their young.
Status in Tennessee: Wild Pigs are non-protected nuisance animals marked for eradication. They may be plentiful in certain locations.
- Their broad dietary habits, extremely destructive behaviors, and aggression make them one of the most destructive introduced species across the globe. Wild Pigs destroy native vegetation as they dig for food, travel in herds, and create wallows. They will eat native animals, such as frogs, snakes, and ground nesting birds and their eggs.
Best places to see in Tennessee: Unfortunately, they are common in the Cherokee National Forests, Smoky Mountains National Park, and Catoosa WMA.
For more information:
Dewey, T. and J. Hruby. 2002. "Sus scrofa" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web.
Whitaker, Jr., J. O. 1980. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York.