Mar 262012
 
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This observation was made possible due to information provided by one of my readers. The tipster was responding to an article that I had posted back in February: My Wish List Part 1: Mammals. The tip was for River Otters, but as I followed up I found that the trail had grown cold—for the River Otters anyways.

Feral Hogs sightings came to my attention as an interesting tangent to my River Otter search. Hogs were on my wish list as well, so I eagerly began pursuing these leads. The most compelling were reported sightings just north of White Rock Lake in the Lake Highlands area. I set out to investigate.

On Saturday, March 17 I scouted the area where Feral Hogs were reported to have been seen. It wasn’t long before I found this, very definitely hog, track.

This is what the terrain was like where I found the first set of tracks. The hog had passed through this area when the soil was still wet and soft.

This area has around 700 acres of densely wooded bottom land. Its perfect habitat for Feral Hogs and any number of other wildlife. On Saturday, March 17 I set and baited two camera traps deep in the woods. I had high hopes that I would record images of some interesting wildlife at this spot, even as I tempered my expectations for actually getting pictures of a hog. As it turned out, heavy rains on Sunday night washed away all of my bait. Without bait the cameras did not record much wildlife activity of any kind.

Except for a Feral Hog. A little bit of serendipity allowed me this incidental photograph of a Lake Highlands Feral Hog. They are there. Feral Hogs—which I only ever expected to get photographs of in the more rural areas around the periphery of the metroplex—found instead in the very heart of Dallas.

I set a couple of camera traps in what I felt was a prime location. By the end of the week I had this picture, and definitive proof that Feral Hogs are in the area.

I will be following up this observation in the coming weeks to see if I can get some idea of just how many hogs we have at this location.

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  2 Responses to “Feral Hog – In Lake Highlands”

  1. Chris, this is amazing news – a little scary, too, I must say. Eager to hear more, and see more from your camera traps. What do you think about the hogs being in such close proximity to urban humans? What do they eat? Tell us more.

    • This I’m sure will be a delicate matter. So far the evidence suggests that there is only just this one hog in Lake Highlands. I’m still monitoring the area to be sure. Hopefully, I will know more in a couple of weeks.

      I think that if it is just the one, and he can resist the lure of rooting in peoples yards and in the more maintained parts of the park, he may go on to have a long piggy life in this great habitat!

      I’m not well read on hog behavior (didn’t think I would need to be! Ha!), but I’m sure they are omnivores. I would expect them to eat anything and everything. I’ve heard that they like snakes, so that might be a point in their favor with some folks. In fact, I read someplace that Rattlesnakes may be changing their behavior due to Feral Hogs. According to this article, some folks believe rattlesnakes are becoming less inclined to rattle when threatened, because the rattle has become a dinner bell for Feral Hogs. I have no idea if there is any truth to that or not.

      I’ve also read about how aggressive Feral Hogs can be. I’m skeptical of these claims. Hogs certainly deserve our respect, and should not be approached or fed. But, I would expect them to retreat, or allow you to slowly retreat as their first option in all but the most extreme cases (surprise, or coming between a mother and her brood). Deliberate, cautious, and respectful behavior on our part should keep problems to a minimum. If you did make one mad though, I do believe it could lead to a dangerous encounter.

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