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Feral pigs

Domestic pigs were brought to Australia as a food source for European settlers and some of those pigs that escaped or were free-roaming established feral colonies outside of human settlements[3]. It is estimated that up to 23.5 million feral pigs occupy nearly half of Australia and feral pigs are found in all states and territories[1]. Approximately 3-6 million feral pigs live in Queensland[2] placing pressure on the natural environment. 

Juvenile feral pig. Photo by Department of Environment and Resource Management - Queensland Government

Quick facts

Despite the high mortality
of piglets and juveniles, high fertility means that feral pigs can rapidly increase their population each year[1][2].

Feral pigs require access to water, food, and cover and these requirements are highly predictive of their distribution and abundance. Because they require readily available access to water, they are typically associated with wetlands and waterways and not usually found in the dry interior of the country[3]. In locations where resources are readily available, feral pigs may form permanent populations; feral pigs will relocate when food opportunities are low and their demanding energy requirements are not being met[2]. Additionally, despite the high mortality of piglets and juveniles, high fertility means that feral pigs can rapidly increase their population each year[1][2].

Feral pigs:

  • are omnivorous and opportunistic and ingest a variety of vegetation, fruit, grains, and animal components, including terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates[1]
  • lack sweat glands, so they require access to shade and water to regulate their temperature
  • generally live for less than five years, making them a relatively short-lived species[3][1][2]
  • are highly fertile - sows (female pigs) can reproduce during their first year of life[1], breed throughout the year (under the right conditions) and can produce two litters a year of up to six piglets[1][2].

Additional information


References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Australian Pork Limited (2020), Australian Feral Pig Report - July 2020. [online], National Feral Pig Action Plan. Available at: https://feralpigs.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/National-Feral-Pig-Management-APL-Report-July-2020.pdf.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (2008), Feral pig : A practical guide to pig control in Queensland. [online], Queensland. Available at: https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/63926/IPA-Feral-Pig-Control-Manual.pdf.
  3. ^ a b c Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (2011), THE FERAL PIG (SUS SCROFA). [online], Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra ACT. Available at: https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/a897fd1d-3d5c-408d-957e-3cf03f0b103b/files/pig.pdf.

Last updated: 10 May 2021

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2021) Feral pigs, WetlandInfo website, accessed 29 September 2021. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/ecology/components/fauna/wetland-pests/feral-pigs.html

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science