Wild Hogs Are Opportunistic Omnivore

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Wild hogs are not indigenous to the United States, are among the most destructive species in existence, and their population is growing. Hogs are opportunistic omnivores with voracious and destructive feeding habits. It is estimated that there are two to six million wild hogs in at least 47 states and four Canadian provinces (Morthland, 2011). Estimates claim that hogs are gaining 500,000 acres per year in Mississippi and are now reported to occupy 73 of the 83 counties in Michigan (Who Can Stop These Adorable Pigs, 2014). Wild hogs destroy farm lands, national parks, and drive indigenous wildlife from their habitats. Perhaps most concerning is the damage they cause to trees and wetland areas; hogs will root up saplings to eat the root systems…show more content…
The biology of wild hogs plays a massive role in their population growth. Wild pigs are known as opportunistic omnivores because they will eat almost anything, it is easier to list what they do not eat. Omnivore refers to eating both plants and animals while opportunistic refers to nearly every plant or animal available. This is particularly dangerous because they compete with indigenous animals for food, generally driving out other animals trying to compete and will deplete an area of its food sources before moving on. They will eat reptiles, small mammals, and birds. A wild hog’s diet allows it to thrive in virtually any environment. Wild hogs are habitat generalists; they can live in many habitats and can tolerate a wide range of climates. Mortality rates for wild hogs are very low; they have very few natural predators and can live up to 10 years. Female hogs can give birth twice a year and can be sexually mature in as little as 6 months of age. Female hogs can have 3-8 piglets, the average being 6 piglets. (History of Wild Pigs, 2015). The annual growth rate of the wild hog population is estimated at 28% (Timmons, J. B., & Higginbotham, D, 2011). Using a low population estimate of 2.5 million pigs with a 28% growth rate over 5 years would increase the population to over 8 million wild hogs if left unchecked. High reproduction rates, adaptability, and opportunism allow the wild hog population to thrive in nearly every part of the United

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