Residents who exercise or walk their pets at night are being told to be on high alert due to the dangerous animals.
SUGAR LAND, Texas — They’re a costly nuisance that no homeowner wants to deal with — feral hogs.
And they’re causing problems in the Sugar Land area again.
Residents said they’ve seen them more frequently over the last few weeks. They’re not only worried about the damage they cause, but their safety, too. They said the damage alone can cost them hundreds of dollars every time the hogs come through.
One resident said the hogs tore through his yard. Where a flower bed and shrubs used to be now just a big pile of dirt.
“Each time this happens, it’s a few hundred bucks to fix the yard,” resident Dipu Kakumani said. “Thank God it hasn’t happened too often until these recent few weeks.”
Another resident said he’s seen firsthand how the hog problem continues to grow.
“Like, four of them are a little bigger and they have like 15 piglets,” resident Anuja Patil said.
Here’s a recent video of a pack of hogs in the Riverstone subdivision in Sugar Land:
But the problem persists in neighborhoods around Houston and Texas in general. State Director for Texas Wildlife Services Mike Bodenchuk told KHOU 11 News that the invasive species is not native to North America and there are estimated to be 2.5 to 3 million hogs statewide.
“The feral hogs we have in Texas and across the southeast is a hybrid between a European wild boar – very durable, very environmentally adaptable – and the domestic pig, which is a high reproductive rate, a high growth rate,” said Bodenchuk. You’ve got the perfect storm in a pest that will grow up fast, have large litters consume almost anything. If it’s got a calorie in it feral hogs will eat it.”
He said there’s no real reason for an increase in sightings at the moment but some tips to keep them from entering your yard are watering your lawn during the day and consider getting an electric fence.
“Feral hogs do not like electricity. Simple, low electric fences will keep the hogs out of your yard,” he said.
For Kakumani, the cost of fixing his yard matters far less than the potential danger.
“Not just the inconvenience. I’m scared for my kids and pets. If they’re out at the wrong time, hogs can attack,” he said.
Because the hogs typically come out at night, it’s advised that people who go out exercising or walking their dogs be on extra alert.
Why do feral hogs like the Houston area?
Michael Bodenchuk, with the US Department of Agriculture, said watered yards and golf courses are a beacon for the invasive animals. The animals travel as a sounder, or family, and have been known to be very active through Houston-area neighborhoods at night.
“We see sounders of pigs from six or seven all the way up to 50 or 100 pigs in a group,” Bodenchuk said. “Feral hogs are considered an invasive species in North America. They’re not native wildlife. They were brought here with the Europeans way in the 1600s and have escaped into the wild.”
And as quickly as Texans can trap them and hunt them, the ultra-fertile pigs continue to pop up in neighborhoods from Sugar Land to Spring.
“In the US, there are about 6 million feral hogs. About half of them live in Texas. So this is central ground for the feral hog problem,” Bodenchuk said.
He pointed to East Texas watersheds as an attraction for a majority of the hogs in the state.
“The watering of our lawn actually brings the insects up close to the surface, so the hogs are rooting in your lawn to get those grubs and bugs underneath the surface. We create greenspace and golf courses that are perfect environments, and the hogs, not surprisingly, take advantage of that,” Bodenchuk said.