When I think of a pig, the first thing that comes to mind is Wilbur in “Charlotte’s Web.” In particular, I think about the animated adaptation and that barbershop quartet song at the end, “Zuckerman’s Famous Pig.” As a matter of fact, I’ll do you all a favor and leave a clip of that right here. You’re welcome.
So now that you have that embedded into your head, Texas has a feral pig problem that’s the largest in the United States costing them millions of dollars in agricultural damage each year. Despite efforts to stop them, the problem is just continuing to get worse.
According to the Texas A&M University agricultural extension, there are roughly 4 to 5 million estimated feral hogs in the US with about 2.6 million of them wandering around in Texas. Pigs are fairly voracious eaters, with a 150 pound hog needing about 5 pounds of food per day to remain healthy. The bigger the hog, the more food it needs, hence why they can cause over $52 million in damage to the agricultural sector and $400 million in damage overall. Oh, and they’re also moving into neighborhoods as well.
The video featured above is from Missouri City, Texas outside the home of one, Glen Garner. What looks like one solitary pig strolling across the sidewalk suddenly turns into a whole…insert word for group of pigs here. I just looked it up while writing this, one source is telling me it’s a passel of hogs, though it could also be a sounder, though sounder is seemingly used more for pigs than hogs. Either way, this isn’t exactly a bunch of Wilburs marching down the street because they’re some, terrific, radiant, humble, thing-a-ma-jig of a pig.
Maybe this might seem like recent news to you, its been a recurring trend in Texas for years now. Sightings of wild hogs in noticeable numbers began in the 1980s and have only continued to explode because of how resilient and intelligent the animals are. Even with year-round hunting permits to try and thin the herds, …er… passels/sounders, along with coordinating trapping efforts, the numbers are still booming. And while male hogs tend to be solitary, the females tend to travel in packs, which is the behavior being exhibited in the video outside Garner’s home.
The threat of invasive or overpopulated species is no joke due to the damage they can cause to other wildlife. The Asian carp for example is a major threat to other aquatic animal life because of how much the carp eat, literally starving out other fish. That’s why, as cruel as it may seem, the hunting and trapping efforts are absolutely vital to the survival of the ecosystem.
On the bright side, if there were any more fears of the bacon shortage, those should be alleviated pretty quickly.