Feral pigs in Texas are descended from introductions of European wild hogs for sporting purposes, and from escaped domestic swine that have established feral populations. European wild hogs have several distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from domestic or feral hogs. European wild hogs and feral hogs interbreed readily, with traits of European wild hogs apparently being dominant.
Feral pigs have established sizeable, free-ranging populations in various places on the Rio Grande and Coastal Plains, as well as the wooded country of eastern Texas.
Good feral hog habitat in timbered areas consists of diverse forests with some openings. During hot summer months, “wallows,” or depressions dug in the mud by feral hogs, are much in evidence near marshes or standing water, such as along roadside ditches.
On the Texas coast, feral pigs eat a variety of items, including fruits, mushrooms, invertebrates, and roots, depending on the season. Herbage eaten by feral pigs includes water hyssop, pennywort, frog fruit, spadeleaf, onion, and various grasses while important roots used for food include bulrush, cattail, flatsedges, and spikesedges.
Feral pigs can have detectable influences on wildlife and plant communities as well as domestic crops and livestock. Feral pigs also compete, to some degree, with several species of wildlife for certain foods, particularly domestic crops and feed grains.
Feral pigs generally breed year round; litters range from one to seven, averaging two per sow. An average of one to three suckling pigs usually accompanies brood sows. The heat period is only about 48 hours in duration and the average gestation period is 115 days.