Why the Wild Pig Wanders - Nomadic Tendencies of Wild Pigs

feral pigs pig behavior

Nomadic pigs in mud

 

By Aaron Sumrall, PhD

Where you going, pig?

While we may wonder why the wild pig wanders, it's not a mystery to these drifting grunters. Read more to learn the nomadic tendencies of wild pigs and how you can plan their next move to maximize your next catch.

The wild pig (Sus scrofa) is truly an amazing animal, with traits that make it highly adaptable to just about any given landscape.

When it comes to diet, these pigs seek food both above and below ground. Like all wildlife, they tend to focus on accessible food sources first (berries, grains, seeds, etc.), then once those sources are exhausted, they make the effort to go below ground. If there are enough food sources, they'll remain in an area and only move on once they've depleted the resources.

On occasion, this highly intelligent species will leave an area before entirely exhausting available food sources. These movements leave land and wildlife managers perplexed. The reasons behind unexpected moves can vary, making population management difficult.

Typically, mature boars will remain in each "territory" using the resources in that area, only leaving for short breeding excursions. In feral hog sounders, matriarchal sows are generally in a group with other mature females and their offspring; young boars are forced out as they near breeding age.

How exactly does this relate to the food-motivated movement of sounders?

Wild pig sounders may abruptly leave an area with enough food resources to avoid predation. Mortality rates from predation can be greater than 50 percent for piglets due to coyotes, bobcats, and the occasional fox.

When a sounder remains in an area for a longer time, it allows predators to target behavior and impact litter mortality. Nomadic behavior may allow the necessary time for young wild pigs to mature while taking advantage of the protection offered by larger individuals.

Studying these behavioral dynamics enables land and wildlife managers to anticipate feral pig migration patterns and formulate population management strategies.

Now that you know why the wild pig may wander, you can prep your Pig Brig Trap accordingly. The nomadic tendencies of wild pigs only matter while they are alive, and we can help you catch all your pig problems.

About the Author: Aaron Sumrall holds a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from Texas A&M University. He runs a consultancy called Four Seasons Land and Wildlife LLC and has 20+ years of experience in wildlife and animal science management.

Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

References:

Barrett, R.H. The feral hog at Dye Creek Ranch, California. Hilgardia. 1978. 46(9):283-355.

Graves, H.B. Behavior and Ecology of Wild and Feral Swine (Sus scrofa). Journal of Animal
Science. 1984. 58:482-492.

Tanger, S.M., Guidry, K.M., Nui, H. Monetary Estimates of Feral Hog Damage to Agricultural
Producers in Louisiana. Journal of the NACAA. 2015. Volume 8, Issue 2.

Timmons, J.B., B. Higginbotham, R. Lopez, J.C. Cathey, J. Mellish, J. Griffin, A. Sumrall, K.
Skow. 2012. Feral Hog Population Growth, Density, and Harvest in Texas. SP – 472.


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