In an interesting turn of events, warthogs are starting to turn up in south Texas. Where do scientists think they are coming from?
Wildlife biologist Daniel Walker got to see an interesting sight when flying over the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area in south Texas: a warthog. Though this is an unusual occurrence, it is becoming more and more frequent in parts of Texas, according to a recent story from Lone Star Outdoor News.
Warthogs are a relatively widely-distributed animal across most of sub-Saharan Africa and are quite popular among sport hunters visiting the continent.
According to Stephen Lange, an area manager at the Chaparral WMA, hunting is also probably the reason why these odd looking creatures are starting to turn up in Texas. Here's what he told Lone Star Outdoor News:
There are warthogs around. Most likely they were released behind high fences, and those usually hold them in. But warthogs burrow, like a big badger. It was probably a matter of time before some of them got out. I've also heard that they were the rage to have as pets at one time, kind of like the Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs.
Feral hogs congregating at waterholes are certainly a common sight in Texas' landscape, but seeing African warthogs with their big tusks and distinct snouts would catch any hunter off guard.
At this time, it is unknown exactly how many warthogs are roaming south Texas. However, biologists don't think it is very many at this point and there is no evidence that they are breeding yet.
If warthogs do end up gaining a foothold, it is possible that they could do quite well (as proven by the wild hogs that still cause problems across the state). The climate and habitat of south Texas is very similar to many parts of Africa where the warthogs are originally from.
Warthogs are heavily preyed upon by lions, leopards, hyenas, and crocodiles (and even rhino) in Africa. Aside from the occasional mountain lion, bobcats and coyotes are the only predators in south Texas that would thin the warthog population.
Though both animals could probably kill young warthogs with little trouble, it would be a tall order (though possible) for either animal to kill an adult warthog.
Fortunately for hunters, warthogs are classified as exotic game in Texas. This means that any hunter who encounters a warthog may shoot it at any time; there is no closed season for warthogs and no bag limit.
Just keep that in mind if you're out hunting in Texas and a warthog happens to walk by...