AUSTIN, Texas - There are some worries about some unwelcome wildlife in North Austin. People living in one neighborhood are concerned by the recent appearance of feral hogs right in their own backyards.
Neighbors say they live on a greenbelt they see their fair share of coyotes and deer but this is the first time wild animals showing up on their property has them worried.
Tom Everard caught the hogs on his front door camera.
"He was digging around through these beds here," Everard says. "Next thing you know we had a whole stream of texts from all the neighbors talking about videos that they’d been picking up."
Feral hogs are not a new problem in Texas. They were brought into the U.S. by settlers hundreds of years ago and got loose. They then started reproducing and the population grew pretty quickly.
Associate Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist at Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service John M. Tomeček , Ph.D. says, "You don't have any other animal this large that can reproduce that fast, literally."
Tomeček say reproduction, combined with people moving them around for hunting, led things to be where they are now in the state.
"In the 90s and the early 2000s, you have this kind of pig explosion throughout the state," Tomeček says. "Anecdotally, I would tell you I've heard more issues in the last five or 10 years, especially in the last five."
Feral hogs cause millions of dollars of damage to crops every year as well. Tomeček says along with destroying crops, etc., the hogs can kind of ruin the whole ecosystem. They damage water by destroying the plants around it and increasing the sediment in the water, and they also can introduce pathogens like E.coli. Pigs transmit roughly 25 diseases, about a dozen humans can catch (usually through direct contact though).
Tomeček says the hogs are "incredibly efficient at surviving" because they can deal with severe weather, aren't picky eaters, and are very intelligent.
"It shouldn't come as any surprise that we're seeing them more and more in urban areas." Tomeček says. "They're going to spend time in those bottom areas, those creeks, and anywhere that there's good habitat and then they're going to come out to forage and feed, especially when we get into the summer time."
On private property, landowners can potentially trap or shoot the hogs but there are many regulations and if you're in the city limits options are very limited.
"A few friends have reached out and contacted the city and they basically said if he’s there and causing a problem you can call and maybe they’ll send the police? But we haven’t really heard, like there’s no actual action that they’re taking at this point, so anything to help," Everard says.
FOX 7 Austin reached out to the City of Austin and it said that if you see a feral hog you should stay in the house or your car until the hog leaves. Don't try to interact with it because of its possible aggressive nature.
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