Monday, September 25, 2006

Pig Problems

Monday September 25th 5:45 am the phone rang.

Hello Chris. Are you up yet?

It is a quarter to six in the morning. No I am not up.

I thought you got up early and I wanted to make sure I caught you before you left.

Yes, I am coming there today.

Good. I have an emergency. The pigs got in and tore up the whole yard. The place is a mess.

Oh Crap! I will be there today.

I was afraid of what I was going to find when I got there.

Some people like pigs and have them as pets. Some people collect pig figurines and keep them as mascots and good luck charms. They are written about in books and given roles in feature films. The charming side of pigs made a star of Arnold Ziffel, the pig on Green Acres.

The problem with pigs though is that, well they are pigs. In a garden they are like miniature backhoes. The damage they cause is unbelievable. Few plants stand a chance of remaining in the ground once the shoveling snout of a 250 pound pig commences to forage.

In one night, two adults and three small feral piglets rooted through half an acre of green grass and left a trail of destruction that surrounded the house. This is what pigs do in the wild. This is what pigs do in the mountain forests of Maui.

Small Polynesian pigs were brought here by the Hawaiians and the larger European pig followed with the first European explorers to reach the islands. This larger feral pig is what roams the steep secluded forests of the islands today. As housing expands into the more remote areas of Maui, pigs and people merge together again in new ways.

It had rained the night before and as I drove into the clouds it began to rain again. It was not a pretty sight as I pulled into the drive and surveyed the muddy scene.

A few years back we had our own local Bigfoot saga of sorts. A Big Cat was alleged to be roaming the upcountry area. It has never been captured or found and the story has faded away for now. Is there, was there one lonely predator big enough to go after the wild pigs and Axis Deer that roam freely on Maui?

I spent most of the day filling in the hog wallows. It was a cool misty day. All was quiet after the early morning pigcapades. The fresh rain and grey skies had stirred other hidden residents in the area. All day long I could hear the chirping of the Greenhouse frog in the tall grass of the pasture on the other side of the fence and in the garden beds that had this pig go round, praise be, been spared.

I hear one of the neighbors who was kind enough to help out this morning will be having a luau soon with some tasty Kalua Pig.


Annie in Austin said...

Good grief! What a thing to wake up to -a nd I thought deer and squirrels were a pain. The amount of turf dug up is impressive - but what were they digging for?? Are there big grubs or something like that? The skunks dig holes around here, mostly for lawn grubs.

Although I've only seen photos, not the actual animal, there are some pretty destructive feral pigs in outlying areas of Austin. A few years back there was a newspaper account of a local entrepeneur who was hunting them and exporting the meat to Europe, where it was expensive, and prized as wild boar.


christin m p in massachusetts said...

Arnold Ziffel was a very cool pig. I know domesticated pigs are said to be highly intelligent and sensitive creatures, and that they make excellent pets -- but I don't think I could manage one because they grow so large.

Thanks for the education -- I had no idea there were feral pigs anywhere in the U.S. I thought they only lived in Southeast and South Asia. I wonder why none of the wild amimal shows ever shows the feral pigs living in Hawaii and Texas? Do feral pigs live in colonies like feral cats do?

Anonymous said...

OMG, pigs in paradise!

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Annie I read that pigs are fond of eating the roots of plants. I would think the grub and worm population would be low in this severely over fertilized lawn but they would eat those too I think.

Christina pigs are led by a dominant Boar with a harem of sows.

Becky pigs are just one of many pests in paradise. By the way I just love your photo icon. Who is the artist?

Cheryl said...

Wild pigs are a big problem in a number of National Parks.