What is in this article?:
- While the U.S. struggles with a feral hog issue, around the globe the problem also continues to grow with some nations using extensive control methods once considered far too radical for domestic use.
Jon Jackson Bennett, Lyon, Miss., dares to sneak a peek at a 200-pound feral hog killed by Matthew Edmonson, Clarksdale, Miss.
Damages and costs
It is estimated that feral swine in the U.S. cause more than $1 billion in damages and control costs each year. For example, rooting and wallowing activities cause property damage and erosion to river banks. Feral swine eat and destroy field crops such as corn, milo, rice, watermelon, spinach, peanuts, hay, turf, and wheat. They are also efficient predators and, when given the opportunity, prey upon young livestock and other small animals, such as ground-nesting birds.
In addition, their rooting activities allow invasive plants to re-vegetate damaged areas, reducing native plants and grasses. Their wallowing activities can contaminate water supplies and affect water quality. These animals have also been known to destroy livestock and game fences and consume livestock feed, minerals, and protein supplements.
Though a rare occurrence, feral swine can directly infect people with diseases. For example, brucellosis (or undulant fever) can be transmitted to people when blood or other body fluid from an infected animal comes into contact with a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or an open wound.
Feral swine can also carry harmful organisms and diseases such as toxoplasmosis, tularemia, trichinellosis, swine influenza, salmonella, E. coli, and a variety of bacterial diseases that can cause sickness and, in some cases, death to people who consume contaminated food products.
Pseudorabies can be transmitted from feral swine to some pets, such as dogs and cats, as well as cattle, sheep, and goats. Signs of illness include intense itching often followed by paralysis and death.