A few wild hogs have been running amok in Beaufort County recently. If you haven’t spotted one, though, you’re surely among the majority.
Although wild hogs can be found in every county in South Carolina, Beaufort County is historically not among the problem areas.
“Most people will never see one, because their preferred habitat is swampy lowlands near river bottoms,” said David Lucas, spokesperson for S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
South Carolina — and much of the U.S. — continues to face a growing issue with wild hogs. From 2003 to 2011, the number of wild hogs in South Carolina nearly doubled, according to a DNR report.
In Beaufort County, however, increasing development usually keeps wild hogs out of the area.
“We don’t see the numbers that they do in rural counties, because it’s hard for them to live in areas of high development,” said Tallulah Trice, director of Beaufort County Animal Services. “This is not the environment that they would thrive in.”
Still, wild hog spottings in Beaufort County has seen an uptick recently.
Last week, Beaufort County Animal Services trapped five hogs that destroyed some land on St. Helena Island. Then, on Sunday, police responded to a 300-pound wild pig charging at people in a Bluffton neighborhood.
“Recently, it seems like there’s been a pig infestation in this county,” Trice said.
Beaufort County Animal Services received about five calls in November regarding wild hogs, a lot more than most months, according to Trice.
“I think a lot of this is that people just released pets and they multiplied, which happens a lot,” she said. “They can have two litters a year, with as many as 10 pigs at a time.”
Wild hogs are among the most invasive non-native animals in the U.S.
The two biggest issues the species causes for South Carolina are ecological damage to native species and habitats and damage to agricultural crops, Lucas said.
Wild hog damage can include destructive rooting activity, depredation of crops and livestock, spreading disease to livestock and humans, property damage, competing with native wildlife and attacking humans.
“They (wild pigs) have been occasionally spotted throughout Beaufort County for years,” Trice said. “It’s a concern and threat to our native wildlife.”