Razorbacks are giant wild boar hybrids. They grind their tusks to knife-like sharpness and slash their way through humans, forests and fields. And, they’re expanding their territory. Get more after the jump.
Origin Of Giant Wild Boar
Wouldn’t you know it? These giant pigs are an invasive species. There were no pigs in North America until European settlers arrived.
Scientists believe the boar came from Asia, specifically Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It spread across mainland Asia and into Europe and Africa over millions of years. The wild boar is now found 6 continents, and its ability to adapt to new environments has made it one of the most successful critters.
In North America, pigs got loose, became feral, and mated with the new wild boar arrivals. These hybrids allowed these forest monsters to grow at rapid speeds. Each rapidly growing generation got bigger and more fearless. Soon, they grew to be tractor-sized pigs.
Now, humans consider them a nuisance and people can freely hunt them. The problem is: We’ve made a habitat that’s perfect for the giant wild boar. We have massive farms and fields, and dumpsters in parks. The razorbacks have all the food they need to keep going … and growing.
Razorbacks are smart, gigantic, fearless and tough to take down. Pigs can be as smart as Border Collies, the most intelligent dog breed. What makes them seem dumb is their size. When you’re this big, you’re not too worried about avoiding capture.
Gigantic is the word for razorbacks and other hogs. These walking ham loaves can tip the scale at 2,000+ lbs. Really, they can get bigger than a SUV. It can take them 7 years to reach their adult size: They have to keep eating a steady junk diet over that time. But it happens.
Its fearlessness is partially due to its size, but also because it’s a hybrid. It took the best parts from the wild boar and domestic pig. So, it’s not afraid of humans, and, when you’re as big as a SUV, not much frightens you. Razorbacks are most vulnerable under 4-years old. That’s when they’re small enough to worry about predators. More on that later, though.
Their hide tells you why they’re hard to take down. It’s a thick, fatty layer that its body feeds on during winter months, like a bear. But, it’s so dense, handgun bullets can’t penetrate. Arrows will stick, but never reach the organs. In other words, unless you use an elephant gun, this pig will stand its ground.
The term, razorback, describes the ridge of fur that runs from its head to mid-back. It sticks up like a mohawk. Giant wild boar are usually black or dark gray, but you can find them in striped red or tan colors. They grow thick, furry coasts in winter, and sheds them for the summer.
They can have giant tusks that stick out under its snout. There are upper- and lower-tusks. The lower ones are razor sharp because the boar rubs the top ones on them to make a fine point.
Let’s get real for minute: These pigs are on the move. They may call the South their biggest territory, but you can find them throughout the Appalachian Mountains. You can also find them wherever there’s dense woods and easy access to food.
But the giant ones have a more limited territory.
It’s usually in the Ozarks, Great Smokey Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains. In Arizona, they live just outside Phoenix and Tuscon. The giants like Monterrey County and the Coastal Range in California. In all cases, they stay near food sources, like garbage dumps or park sites, that are cooler than the valleys. You see, giant razorbacks hate hot weather. In Arizona, they’ve adapted to the heat by foraging at night and developing a tan coat with less hair.
Anyway, giant wild boar are moving west. They roam suburban areas in Texas now. We don’t know if the heat will slow their expansion or if they’ll turn northward.
Predators no longer threaten them. Their top predators include wolves, bobcats, cougars and bear. Humans have done a good job of limiting these apex predators in the wild. So, razorbacks can continue to spread in the southern half of the US. I wouldn’t expect a Rocky Mountain expansion because we still have predators there.
Food Sources For Mega Pigs
Razorbacks will eat anything they can chew up. They’re omnivores, so plants and other animals are fair game.
In most cases, they eat carrion and trash. They’ll use their tusks and powerful jaws to strip meat from bone, then gnash them up, too. It’s also easy for them to knock over a garbage bin and gulp down human junk, containers and all.
As far as we know, they’ll even eat their domestic pig subspecies. Everyone loves bacon; even the bacon itself.
For plants, well, anything will do. They’ve been known to tear through forests, ripping saplings out. In other cases, they destroy crops like corn, soybean, nuts, root vegetables and mushrooms.
But, giant wild boar won’t eat their babies. In farming, this act is called savaging. It happens when the sow doesn’t feel safe and it’s her first birth. Razorbacks rarely feel threatened. Plus, a big male sticks around to protect his litter.
Razorbacks rarely hunt live game. When they kill another animal, it usually involves humans hunting it. These humans will send in their dogs to ferret out the boar, and it will gut the poor pooch with its tusks. If the dog’s body gets left behind, the razorback will eat it.
Giant wild boars have limited numbers, but they’re growing every day. It’s not some trick mutation. It’s just convenience. Humans enabled wild boars to grow bigger and stronger.
In the wild, they’ve become a nuisance and people can hunt them freely. But, they keep adapting. Expect them to reach the central plains in a decade or two.
I mean, it’s really scary to think we’ll have 1-ton boars casually walking out of garbage dumps, looking for their next meal.