Animals

As temperatures drop in Houston, feral hogs can be seen closer inside city limits

One location where business owners are fighting back against the feral hogs is just south of Beltway 8 and 290. Feral hogs have taken up residence in a patch of land behind some businesses along the feeder road.

Edward Dickey shows tracks of where feral hogs have been, near 290 and Beltway 8.
Robert Salinas/Houston Public Media
Edward Dickey shows tracks of where feral hogs have been, near 290 and Beltway 8.

The cool weather means some unwelcome guests are making their way back to Houston. Feral hog sightings are being reported at multiple locations in and around the city.

One location where business owners are fighting back against the feral hogs is just south of Beltway 8 and 290. Feral hogs have taken up residence in a patch of land behind some businesses along the feeder road.

"To have a kind of aggressive animal like that in the middle of a major metropolitan area is kind of surprising," said Leah Alonzo, the marketing coordinator with Safety Vision.

Alonzo says the hogs have been in that location in the past but have become more destructive lately. They emerge from a field at the back of the business and root through the landscaping in search of food. The business, Safety Vision, runs along the side of the feeder near a tollbooth on Beltway 8. The area is a high-traffic street, and the hogs are frequently on the edge of the property near passing cars.

Edward Dickey, owner of Texas Wild Hog Control, believes the hogs likely made it to that location by migrating up Addicks Reservoir and then using various drainage ditches to explore the city before finding a suitable spot to spend the winter.

Feral hogs have a hard time regulating their body temperature. During the heat of the summer, they tend to migrate to major waterways. As the temperature drops the hogs tend to move closer to population centers in search of food.

"The temperature is starting to fall. The acorns are falling and that's stirring up the hogs," Dickey said.

He says nature flipped a switch over the past few weeks and the feral hogs that are so prevalent in Texas have made their way back into urban areas in search for food.

"You would be surprised at how they access these neighborhoods. A lot of it is through the channels and creek beds," said Dickey. "These drainage ditches and these channels running through the neighborhoods they are using them like highways."