Pigs are often depicted as cute little curly-tailed pets or as cartoon characters. Harmless and all-around pleasant. The truth is another matter.
Feral pigs are dangerous and destructive. They are omnivores, meaning they will eat virtually anything. They are strong, fast, aggressive, and intelligent. Intelligent on the level of dogs and horses. Remember Animal Farm? The pigs ended up in charge.
Pigs often escape from farms and head into the woods, where they are uniquely equipped to not only survive but thrive. Food materials are everywhere for the escapees and they have few enemies. But they do have friends. Other escaped pigs.
When these feral creatures form into packs they become destructive and dangerous. They can decimate crops, literally uprooting everything. They can destroy a chicken coop, by barging in and consuming literally hundreds of chickens. They can kill lambs and calves and small deer. Even humans in rare cases.
Growing up in the South, I remember several times where feral packs began to wreak havoc with local farmers. When such situations became intolerable, the local farmers would “form a pack” of there own and hunt down and kill as many of the problem pigs as possible.
According to a recent Scientific American article, the problem still exists, is indeed growing, and is no longer confined to the South.
I used this phenomenon in one of my Dub Walker thrillers HOT LIGHTS, COLD STEEL. Feral pigs can dig and scratch and claw and will eat anything—-even a buried body.
From Hot Lights, Cold Steel:
They reached a clearing where three other uniforms stood near a rectangle of gouged away earth. The first thing T-Tommy saw was the gnawed remains of a shoulder, bone and gristle exposed, flesh shredded. It was framed by torn plastic sheeting. As he moved closer, he saw a leg protruding through another rip in the plastic. Like the shoulder, large chunks of flesh were missing, the bones clearly visible. Attached to the damaged leg was a bare foot, nails painted purple, not the bright red polish he had seen minutes earlier. Two bodies or a fashion statement?
The decay odor was weak, and though flies buzzed around the shredded flesh, he saw no maggots. The corpse hadn’t been dead long. He backed away and watched as the evidence team went to work.
Forty-five minutes later, Sidau and his crime lab crew had photographed the site, completed a grid walk of the immediate area for other evidence, and collected what they could find. The coroner’s techs then excavated the grave, finding two nude bodies. Young girls. Early twenties, give or take. Each had been wrapped in plastic. They removed them from the grave and sliced open the wrapping, careful to keep each corpse cupped within its sheeting, preserving any trace evidence. One of the bodies belonged to the arm, the other to the leg.
“Pigs,” the tech said.
“You sure?” T-Tommy asked.
He nodded. “Seen it before. Drummond and Cooksey can tell us more, but that’s what it’ll be.”
“There was a pack near here a couple of months ago,” Stone said. “Wiped out a chicken coop and killed a few calves. The local farmers put together a hunting party. Killed six of them. Must have been more.”
“How’d you know that?”
“My uncle was one of the hunters.”