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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This little piggy . . .



Fortunately, this little piggy does not go to market. Feral pigs run wild in Florida, usually under the cover of darkness. Other names for these oinkers are "wild boar," wild hog," or "razorback." Sound intimidating? They are if confronted. Their tusks are sharp and from three to six inches long. They can run fast and swim well which is why they seldom get caught, except when outsmarted by a hungry alligator looking for filet of pork. In this case, being pigheaded doesn't help.
Are they good to eat? I saw a feral piglet left behind by a roaming herd. He was plump, pink, and rather juicy looking, I thought. But wild pigs are seldom eaten, unless you're willing to risk the parasitic worms that embed their flesh and the myriad diseases they carry. The early settlers roasted feral hogs for dinner. These hardy folks lived in such primitive conditions, that they probably died of malaria or old age long before the effects of the worms kicked in. Many of them tried to keep domesticated pigs of their own, but the feral pigs managed to breakdown their fences and interbreed, creating more wild hogs.

Trying to eradicate wild pigs is like swatting at flies. They breed like jack rabbits, they're elusive, and they're always on the run.What do they do in the wee hours of the morning? They uproot people's lawns and flower beds searching for seeds, acorns, roots, fungi, worms and snails.

Golf club owners are terrified they will plow through their turf and cost them thousands of dollars in damages. Homeowners cringe when they see their well manicured lawns turned into a mass of overturned clods. How do I know this? Our back yard was feral-pig-plowed last night. Other yards in our neighborhood were also hit. In some cases, it's an easy fix -- simply stomp the uprooted sod back into place. In other cases, not so easy.

A friend of mine had her front lawn feral-pig-plowed three times. Living alone with a disability, she hired a lawn service to put her yard back together again. She paid for service twice. On the third time around, she complained to the Home Owners Association. Her persistence paid off, and she got money back for her piggy bank.

Living in Florida is not always pork chops and gravy, but it does provide an endless supply of stories for my blogs.