Questions for ‘Can anything stop the big pig invasion?’

Feral pigs roam in most U.S. states. New traps may help control the size of their populations.

USDA APHIS photo by Clint Turnage/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

To accompany feature “Can anything stop the big pig invasion?


Before Reading

1.  What is the difference between a domestic animal and a feral animal? Consult a dictionary or the internet if needed.

2.  Why might it be a problem if there was a population of domestic animals, like pigs or cats, living wild in the suburbs or countryside?

During Reading

1.  What are three countries where wild pigs can be found?

2.  What are three problems caused by wild pigs?

3.  Why has the pig menace worsened in the United States in the last few decades?

4.  What is an invasive species?

5.  How many pigs are thought to run wild in the United States?

6.  Why do some people intentionally release wild pigs, even though it is illegal?

7.  What are three ways people have been working to control wild-pig populations?

8.  What is one potential unintended consequence of efforts to poison wild pigs?

9.  What are contraceptives?

After Reading

1.  Consider a scenario in which a herd of wild pigs have taken up residence on a school soccer field. Using evidence from the story, come up with a plan to deal with the problem.

2.  Will the wild pig population in the United States ever be eradicated? Use the article to explain your answer.


1. There are approximately 1.5 million wild pigs in the state of Texas. That state has an area of some 696,241 square kilometers (268,581 square miles). What is the density (in pigs per square kilometer or mile) of the Texas pig population? Show your work.

2. Pick one estimate of wild-pig numbers in the United States, as presented in the article, and assume that animals’ national population growth increases 2 percent per year. How many feral U.S. pigs would there be within 15 years? Within 25? Now assume the rate of population growth were 10 percent per year. How many pigs would there be in 5 years, 15 years and 25 years? Show your work.