Imagine taking your kid outside to play only to be greeted by a torn-up backyard? Unfortunately, this is happening more and more often as wild hogs are coming into some of the exclusive gated areas in Melbourne from the woods close to I-95. This is not the first time we’ve seen them in Brevard and it’s not going to be the last time.
Where do they come from?
Wild pigs are not new to Florida. In fact, Florida leads the nation in terms of feral pig population – second only to Texas. It is estimated that the wild pig population is approximately 500,000 strong. Every single county in Florida has some type of wild pig population and at times they can cause quite a bit of problem with the residents.
Wild pigs usually live in heavily wooded areas that also provide plenty of drinking water and lush green vegetation for food. As we continue to build more and more homes close to the woods or in place of the woods, we will see these creatures more often as they venture forth in search of something to eat.
What do they do?
They eat. They come out of the wooded areas in search of food and water. They will root around in the dirt searching for acorns, grubs and just about anything else that’s edible. They are always searching for fresh drinking water and cool walling spots. They will even eat tree seedlings and young animals, such as squirrels or turtles.
One of the first signs that you have wild hogs invading your space is simply that they root in the ground. They take their long nose and start digging up the top surface of your yard looking for food. Other signs include hog manure, hoof tracks and even damaged property from where the hogs rub, scratch and scrape.
Action plan in Brevard
At least one community has hired a wildlife trapper. Many hogs have already been trapped; however there is one that is reported to be approximately 350 pounds and it is still on the loose. Once the animal is trapped, it is killed and the meat is donated to needy families. However, wild hogs do have a tendency to reproduce like, well – rabbits – so plenty more wild hogs are expected year after year.
In Florida, it is also permissible to hunt wild hogs. Depending upon whether the hog is located on private or public land, you may or may not need a hunting license.
What to do if you see one!
Hogs are usually only aggressive if they feel cornered or trapped, so make sure you don’t corner it. Instead, call for help. Bring in your animals and children and give the hog plenty of space. They fear you and will get away from you as soon as possible.