Behavior and Biology of Wild Pigs

Pigs possess many biological and behavioral traits that enable them to live just about anywhere and quickly populate new areas.    

Feral Pig in Snow

Wild Pig in Snowy Conditions

Wild Pigs Can Live Almost Anywhere

  • Are habitat generalists
  • Are highly adaptable
  • Can live in many different habitats
  • Can tolerate a wide range of climates
  • Can live as far away as a day's walk from water

Wild Pigs Eat Almost Anything

  • Are opportunistic omnivores
  • Eat mostly plant matter
  • Also eat invertebrates such as worms, insects, and insect larvae
  • Will eat small mammals, newborns of larger mammals, and eggs and young of ground-nesting birds and reptiles

Wild Pigs Can Reproduce Rapidly

  • Have a high reproductive potential
  • Some individuals sexually mature as early as 6 months of age
  • Litter size averages 6 piglets, but ranges from 3-8 piglets
  • Females can give birth twice in one year.
    A Sow and Piglets

    A Sow Nursing Piglets

Wild Pigs Have Low Rates of Natural Mortality

  • Have few predators in the U.S.
  • Most vulnerable to predation when young
  • In the U.S., few predators are a threat to wild pigs 40 pounds or greater in size
  • Mortality rates from diseases and parasites is unknown
  • Mortality is mostly a result of humans: hunting, trapping, car collisions

 

wild pigs in water

Tombigbee River near Demopolis, Alabama

 

RELATED PAGES

RELATED QUESTIONS

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Mayer, John J. and I. Lehr Brisbin. 1991. Wild Pigs in the United States: their history, comparative morphology, and current status. University of Georgia Press, Athens, Georgia, USA.
  • www.extension.org/feral_hogs
  • BBC Nature