Canadian “Super Pigs” Are a Real Thing; Although They Haven’t Crossed US Border Yet, People Are Worried

While Montana residents remain vigilant for feral swine coming in from Canada, theres no reason Wyoming should fear an imminent super pig invasion sweeping southward like the wrath of God into the Cowboy State.

Mark Heinz

February 25, 20234 min read

Canadian Pig Research Project 2

While Montana residents remain vigilant for feral swine coming in from Canada, there’s no reason Wyoming should fear an imminent “super pig” invasion sweeping southward like the wrath of God into the Cowboy State.

“We still haven’t heard of anything that’s verified,” Russell Nemetz of the Billings, Montana-based Western Ag Network told Cowboy State Daily on Friday. 

“But who knows?” he added. “They’re pigs, they breed like rabbits.”

‘Super Pigs’ Poised On The Border?

He was refereeing to feral swine infestations in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan that many believer will inevitably spill over into Montana. That would give the rouge piggies a direct path south into Wyoming. 

They’re known to rip up cropland by rooting around in it, and they also can carry diseases that infect livestock, wildlife and perhaps even humans.

In Canada, there’s been some crossbreeding of feral swine with an invasive species of wild boar native to Europe. That’s produced a hybrid breed that some are calling “super pigs. That in turn has led to breathless reports that America could be on the cusp of a hogpocalypse, bringing a wave of destruction and disease. 

‘They Move In Swarms’

And there’s no doubt that hordes of swine running loose are destructive, Nemetz said. Feral hogs are a huge problem in the southern U.S., and he saw that firsthand during a recent trip to Florida. 

“The sheer destruction that they cause to ranchland, pasture and farmlands, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “They range from baby pigs all the way up to adults that are 200 pound or more – just ginormous pigs. They move in swarms.”

Don’t Shoot!

While swarms of swine sounds ominous, the Montana border is seemingly quiet for now, Nemetz said.

In an earlier interview with Cowboy State Daily, Montana State Veterinarian Martin Zaluski similarly said there’s no solid evidence that feral pigs have made it into Montana from Canada on their own.

He said he’s more concerned about people deliberately capturing feral pigs and setting them loose in remote areas in the West, so that they could charge others to go on hog hunts.

And while it’s legal to shoot wild hogs on sight in Montana, experts advise against it, Tahnee Szymanski, a veterinarian with the Montana Department of Livestock, told the Northern Ag Network in a 2021 interview. 

That’s because even if somebody kills all the pigs they see, there might be others in the same group that they didn’t see, and those pigs will then be all the wiser about evading people. And that could increase their odds of breeding and spreading under the radar. 

Zaluski said the same – it’s better to report feral swine to authorities than to open fire. 

Indeed, Montana has set up a special “Squeal on the Pigs Hotline” at 406-444-2976.

Boris Boarloff is a stuffed boar that’s become the mascot for the Canadian Wild Pig Research Project. At right is a map showing wild pig density as of the end of 2020. (Courtesy Canadian Wild Pig Research Project)

Wyoming Could Get It From Both Sides

While Wyoming can rest easy outside the loathsome shadow of the super pigs for now, it could just be a matter of time before they start showing up here. 

The bothersome boars have shown an ability to survive even the harshest Canadian winters, so could no doubt endure conditions here. Moreover, feral swine also been spotted to the south of us. 

Zaluski said there had been recent reports of feral swine in Utah. 

And Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Joey Livingston recently told Cowboy State Daily that wayward pigs popped up in Colorado a couple of years ago. 

Those were all killed, but Colorado remains concerned that more feral swine will keep pushing northward, he said.

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter