MIRAMAR, Fla.  Florida is facing an escalating issue with feral swine, and the problem is now spreading across the United States.

Despite their seemingly harmless appearance, these animals, also known as wild pigs or hogs, are causing significant destruction. They consume crops and have even been reported to attack humans, leading to an estimated $1.5 billion in annual economic damage, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Furthermore, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service highlights that these swine carry at least 30 viral and bacterial diseases and nearly 40 parasites, posing risks to humans, pets, livestock, and other wildlife.

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At least 35 states are reporting feral swine: USDA

Wild hogs pose a big threat to the agriculture industry, and this threat isn’t just in Florida. The problem is nationwide, with the USDA even coining the term “feral swine bomb” to describe it.

Officials report at least 35 states are now dealing with feral swine, with their population estimated at over 6 million and “rapidly expanding.”

It’s worth noting that the current numbers are likely higher, as the most recent data is from 2023.

How are communities fighting back?

Last month, residents in Miramar, Florida, dealt with a pack of wild hogs terrorizing homes and yards.

Communities nationwide are adopting various methods to address this problem, with trapping becoming more popular.

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For example, in Flagler County, Florida, officials have trapped more than 400 hogs so far this year, compared to their usual 100 to 150.

What to do if you encounter feral hogs?

If you ever encounter a pack of feral hogs, officials advise staying calm and moving slowly; don’t approach or try to feed the hogs and keep a safe distance.

Also, avoid using a flash while taking pictures. Unlike encounters with bears, making loud noises is not recommended with feral hogs.