Lawns are torn apart by feral pigs in Florida

Group of wild pigs running – Courtesy of Shutterstock – Photo by WildMedia

Feral hogs are destroying the Sun City Center neighborhood in Florida, acting aggressively towards residents and digging up lawns.

WFLA-TV reports that pigs are likely attracted to the area due to the large amount of mango trees, which provide food, as well as a nearby lake that provides water. However, some residents blame properties being developed nearby for pushing hogs toward downtown Sun from the woods near the residential area.

“All of their habitats are being destroyed by the new developments going on all the time,” resident Gail Dudley told WFTS-TV.

In addition to terrorizing property, pigs act dangerously and aggressively towards people. Although so far no one has been injured, locals are particularly worried due to the large number of elderly residents, with local Sandra McCaw describing the area as a “retirement home”. A close encounter with a wild pig can be deadly as it can cause severe damage to anyone attacked.

The problem has been around for a while now – the interview with McCaw took place in 2019. Although the new development may trigger the problem, feral hogs have been acting aggressively and destroying property for years.

While the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends adding fencing to stop hogs, the Sun City neighborhood has a homeowners association (HOA) that prohibits fencing. However, local resident Pete Pullen told the station he didn’t think it would help anyway.

“There’s not really much we can do about it because we’re not really allowed to fencing,” Pullen said. “Some neighbors have fences, but how do you fence something like this that has a quarter mile of lake right next to you?”

In 2019, McCaw had a similar complaint.

“Everyone says oh it’s somebody else’s problem,” McCaw said at the time. “The [FWC] says they are a nuisance problem. It’s not a county problem. This is not an HOA issue. That’s not a [Community Association] problem is frustrating.

Feral pig populations are on the rise in the United States, causing an estimated $1 billion in damage year after year. Hunting may seem like the solution, but according to the US Department of Agriculture, it only makes things worse as pigs become nocturnal and travel over 100 miles to evade hunters. The only chance is for a hunter to shoot down a sounder – a herd of wild pigs – as a whole, often from a helicopter.

However, their consumption is suggested as a potential remedy in an article written by Heidi Roth for Serious Eats in 2018. She claims that wild boar meat is “much richer in flavor” and leaner than regular pork.

“A free-ranging animal that grazes on a wide variety of adulterable foods gets more muscle movement, which generates deeper, more flavorful meat than an animal that is confined and raised solely on grain; and there are no antibiotics or hormonal supplements to worry about with wild animals,” Roth writes.

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