Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a super-pig! Okay, so super-pigs can’t leap buildings in a single bound or move faster than a speeding bullet, but these invaders are huge, hyper-smart, and impervious to the cold. The intelligent infiltrators have been biding their time and raising their numbers, and now their invasion has begun in earnest. Can anything stop them?
When you think about invading armies it’s probably not pigs that come to mind, unless you’ve got a vivid imagination! They’re not really some kind of nefarious mustache-twirling villains orchestrating a deliberate coup, though. Wild pigs didn’t even wander across the borders by accident. It was humans who brought them to U.S. shores — and not even that recently. They’ve been here for centuries.
Back in 1539 infamous Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto landed a boat in Florida and 13 swine were among its passengers. His expedition lasted four years and in that relatively short time, those hogs bred like there was no tomorrow. And to think rabbits are the ones with a rambunctious reputation! When De Soto’s expedition abruptly ended, there were around 700 pigs on American shores.
At first, this wasn’t a huge problem, according to Department of Agriculture’s assistant program manager Michael Marlow. In 2023 he told British newspaper The Guardian, “They lived a benign existence up until, you know, probably three or four decades ago, where we started seeing these rapid excursions in areas we hadn’t seen before.” Still, even this development hadn’t exactly been a part of the pig population’s plans.
“Primarily that was the cause of intentional releases of swine by people who wanted to develop hunting populations,” Marlow continued. “They [the animals] were drugged and moved around, not always legally, and dropped in areas to allow the populations to develop. And so that’s where we saw this rapid increase.” The result is that now 34 states have a population of over 6 million pigs.