Monday, September 17, 2007

Feral Hogs

When Ponce de Leon arrived in Florida from Spain in 1513, he became famous for many things. He led the first voyage to Florida, and he was known for founding the legend of the Fountain of Youth. In addition to these, theories say that Florida’s feral hogs are descendants of the swine aboard Ponce de Leon’s ships.

Now, over four centuries later, the descendants of those swine are one of the most prevalent creatures living in the wild here in Florida. A large boar hog can weigh over 250 pounds, though most hogs weigh in around 150 pounds. A boar is identified by two long tusks in his lower jaw. The sows (females) do not have the same long tusks. If hunted, the sow is often used for meat.Florida’s population of feral hogs is second only to the state of Texas. Last year over 500,000 hogs roamed the wild in Florida. They live in a variety of habitats from everglades to hills. Employees here at nuisance wildlife have even seen them rooting the grasses on the medians in Lakewood Ranch. There are numerous problems associated with the vast population of feral hogs. They are a nuisance to farm owners, rooting pastures, sod, and crops for food.

In addition, they carry over forty-five different diseases. Thirty-seven of these are parasites, seven are bacteria, and one is a virus. Eight of the parasites can infect humans, along with all four species of ticks that may live on a hog.

One uncommon but nonetheless important danger to consider concerning the population of hogs is the possibility of vehicle accidents. As previously stated, feral hogs have been seen in the medians of streets. According to the Herald Tribune, a man was killed in 2006 when a hog darted in front of his motorcycle and the man spun out of control. It is likely that this is not the first and will not be the last incident concerning feral hogs out of their natural habitats.

Nuisance Wildlife Relocation will relocate these hogs using a live box trap made of strong metal. Nuisance Wildlife Relocation uses traps made by local business R & N Welding. The dangers of feral hogs on commercial and residential properties are vast, and Nuisance Wildlife Relocation is trained and prepared to help.

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