The Atlantic runs a brief dispatch from the central front in the war on pigs: Texas, which has become the bloody heartland of America’s defining battle against feral hogs.
I became acquainted with the ruthless invasive genius of Sus scrofa scrofa last year, while working on this video for Good. (I am responsible for what one knowledgeable reviewer, who is in no way destined for a harsh comeuppance, described as the “smarmy…droopy-lidded narration.”) And while current hog-hunting practices are an ethical morass from a sportsman’s point of view, I came to hold grudging admiration for these terrifying beasts, their prolific reproductive capabilities and their steely determination to survive anywhere. (I once asked a biologist what feral hogs eat. His reply: “Anything that is alive, was alive or looks like it might once have been alive.”) Wild hogs are taking over America, rampaging through just about every state and laying waste to exurbia, which often proves ideal habitat for these adaptable destroyers. Nor is this solely our problem; ze Germans face urban assault from a breed of bohemian squatter-hogs attracted to Berlin.
These pigs are bad news—The Atlantic‘s figures suggest they’re already wreaking nearly $1 billion in damage in the US. And yet there is something impressive (or unsettlingly human-like) in their remorseless spread across the landscape. For one thing, the Hogpacalypse reminds us that we carnivore primates may think we run this planet, but there are some untamable animal forces we cannot control.