California’s wild pigs are massive and ubiquitous. They can grow into 200-pound ripping machines. They tear up lawns and destroy hillsides. Their gruesome teeth can even threaten humans and pets.
And they’re here, rooting up our landscaping, because of one mercurial millionaire.
Today’s wild pigs are a hybrid breed, a mixture of two animals that have no place in California. The first is the standard domesticated pig, introduced by Spanish colonizers in the mid-1700s. Russian immigrants also apparently let some loose near Fort Ross in Sonoma in the 1800s. And as Gold Rush settlers flowed into the state, they killed the hogs’ biggest predator, the bear. So the once-domestic pig spread, becoming a feral pig out in the wild.