Posts Tagged ‘feral pig’

As those of you who used google to find out the truth behind yesterday’s wild boar photos already know, these photos are not from Texas. They are from an outfitter in Turkey. I didn’t know that people hunted wild boars in Turkey, a country where the majority of the population is Sunni Muslim.

A private outfitter called Nature Tours posted these photos on its website, which someone cobbled together in an e-mail that claimed the animal was Texas. and weighed 1,800 pounds. The fact that the Turkish outfitters have been playing around with the photography to make the animal look much larger than it actually was. My guess is they were using the forced perspective technique, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they used Photoshop  or some other photo editing software.

Do wild boars get big?

Yes. The largest ones are native to Russia, as one would expect from Bergmann’s rule. However, these animals don’t typically exceed 650 pounds. which is only slightly over a third of the claimed weight of this animal.

Russian boars have been brought to hunting preserves in Texas to augment feral pig stock. Feral pigs have existed in Texas since the Spanish began to colonize it. When homesteaders moved from the South into Texas, they brought their own free roaming hogs. These animals began to interbreed until Texas developed what might be called a feral pig problem. When people began to hunt them to control their numbers, it was discovered that hunting pigs was a lot of fun, so the owners private game preserves began importing big Russian boars.

Domestic swine have reached massive weights. The heaviest pig on record was Big Bill, who weighed 2,552 pounds. This pig was raised near Jackson, Tennessee, and when was brought to be exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair in either 1933 or 1934, he broke a leg and had to be put down. Such massive weight is simply not useful to the hog, and it would be very unlikely that such an animal could survive in the wild.

Which brings me to another set of large pigs.

Feral pigs are found mostly in the South. In Georgia and Alabama, giant hogs have been killed.

The first of these was Hogzilla. Hogzilla was said to have been a totally wild hog that weighed over 1,000 pounds and was 12 feet long. He was shot near Alapaha, Georgia in 2004. When his remains were exhumed several months later, his size was found to be only 8 feet long. His estimated weight was only 800 pounds– still quite large for a feral pig. He was found to be a cross between a European wild boar and a domestic Hampshire when his DNA was analyzed.

However, the owner of the property on which Hogzilla was shot has developed his own strain of giant bluegill (I forget what they call them in Georgia. I’ll just use the term I use for them). He has not only developed the strain of giant bluegill, but he has developed a special formula to enhance the size of his already large fish. It seems to me very likely that Hogzilla was raised to reach that massive size, and then he was shot as a publicity stunt. I have no proof, of course. However, it just seems too fishy.

Then there is Monster Pig. This huge hog was killed near Anniston, Alabama. This was a 1,051 pound behemoth. He was also killed on a hunting preserve, and the animal was also said to have been killed by an eleven-year-old boy.

Not only are the photos of the animal very fishy (forced perspective?), but after the story made national news, a couple came forward and claimed that the pig in the photo was their former pet! The pig’s name was Fred, and he loved playing with their grandchildren. They sold the pig to the hunting preserve when he got really big.

If this story is true, Monster Pig was in no way a wild boar or a feral pig. He was just a farmyard swine of unusually large size.

The message from all of this is that the internet is full of big pig stories. Virtually all of them are crap. Every hunter wants to kill a big one, and every outfitter or preserve owner wants to show off the big hogs that his clients can kill. The feral pig/wild boar has the same effect on the truth as the largemouth bass. The size of the animal seems to increase when the yarns are being spun.

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