Feral Hogs in Texas: Where did they come from?

Morgan Mason
December 21, 2023
2 min read

Feral hogs in Texas, often referred to as wild hogs or wild pigs, are not native to the state. Their presence in Texas is a result of a complex history involving multiple introductions and escapes. Here is an overview of how feral hogs came to inhabit Texas:

  1. Spanish Arrival: Feral hogs were first introduced to North America by Spanish explorers and settlers in the 1500s. These domesticated Eurasian pigs were brought to North America as a food source for early colonists.
  2. Early Settlements: As European settlers established colonies and farms in what is now the United States, domestic pigs were brought with them. Some of these pigs either escaped or were released into the wild.
  3. Crossbreeding and Naturalization: Over time, domestic pigs interbred with Eurasian wild boar populations in the wild, giving rise to feral hog populations that exhibited traits of both domestic and wild pigs.
  4. Range Expansion: Feral hog populations gradually expanded their range across the southern United States, including Texas. Texas, with its vast and diverse landscapes, provided ideal habitats for feral hogs to thrive.
  5. Escapes from Enclosures: In the 20th century, some farmers and ranchers raised domestic pigs in enclosures or pens. Escapes from these enclosures, along with intentional releases for hunting purposes, contributed to the spread of feral hogs in Texas.
  6. Rapid Reproduction: Feral hogs are known for their high reproductive rates, which allowed their populations to increase rapidly in the wild. A single female hog can produce multiple litters of piglets each year.
  7. Absence of Natural Predators: Feral hogs in Texas benefited from the absence of natural predators and, in some cases, a lack of hunting pressure, allowing their populations to grow unchecked.

Today, feral hogs are considered an invasive species in Texas and many other parts of the United States. They pose significant challenges to agriculture, natural ecosystems, and property owners due to their destructive behavior, prolific breeding, and adaptability to a wide range of habitats. Efforts to manage and control feral hog populations in Texas continue through hunting, trapping, and other methods, but they remain a persistent and widespread issue.