Wildlife

Wildlife in The Woodlands


Life in The Woodlands brings the discovery and adventure of nature to our back door. The 1,800-acre George Mitchell Nature Preserve and more than 3,000 acres of open space reserves provide habitat for a diverse wildlife population. Many local species, like opossums, armadillos and hummingbirds, are unique to the Americas.

Nature photography, critter watching and butterfly gardening provide countless hours of recreation to residents of all ages. The diversity of birds, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, attracts birdwatchers from around the globe.

Wildlife are the native inhabitants of The Woodlands and perform a vital role in our environment. Living in harmony with foraging wildlife requires a little planning and sound property management.


Important Wildlife Phone Numbers

The Woodlands Township provides a list of important phone numbers for local agencies as a resource to community members who need assistance with wildlife issues and inquiries.


Nature Lecture Series


Want to lean more about the unique species that inhabit our community? Join the Environmental Services Department for the Walk in the Woods Nature Lecture Series which features guest speakers presenting various topics ranging from bats and owls to hummingbirds and habitat gardening.

Honeybee Landed
Egret
Butterfly
  1. Feral Hogs
  2. Bees
  3. Egrets

Feral Hogs (Sus scrofa)feral hog photo

Description

Appear similar to domestic pigs. Adults may reach a shoulder height of 36 inches and weigh from 100 to over 400 pounds. European wild hogs are similar in size but have a brownish color with grizzled hair on back, sides, ears and tail. Have relatively poor eyesight but have keen senses of hearing and smell.

Generally travel in family groups called sounders, comprised normally of two sows and their young. Mature boars are usually solitary, only joining a herd to breed. Under normal conditions, a feral hog population can double in just four months. Sows are capable of breeding at six months of age and can produce up to 2 litters per year.

Feral hogs are an invasive species introduced over 300 years ago. Few predators are capable of preying upon large, healthy adult feral hogs. Younger feral hogs can become prey to animals such as coyotes, bobcats, and foxes.

Diet

Feral hogs are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. Very opportunistic feeders, eating most plant and animal matter that is available to them including grasses, forbs, roots and tubers, fruits, mushrooms, insects, earthworms, reptiles, amphibians, carrion (dead animals), live mammals and birds. Especially fond of acorns and domestic agricultural crops. They feed primarily at night and during twilight hours.   

Where Found in The Woodlands

Could be sighted anywhere within The Woodlands. Prefer dense vegetation with water nearby. Concentrate in areas of food availability, especially where there are nut producing trees or agricultural crops.

Human Impacts

A physical attack by a feral hog is highly unlikely as they prefer to flee rather than fight. May become aggressive when cornered or when a sow and her litter are separated. Can cause significant damage to landscaping as they seek out food such as acorns, grass roots, gardens, and flower bulbs.

Environmental Impacts

Feral hogs greatly impact native plants and wildlife. Rooting, trampling and wallowing destroys vegetation and destabilizes riparian areas. Soil compaction and erosion, spread of invasive vegetation, water quality degradation, and disruption of the nutrient cycle ensues. As well, feral hogs prey on young animals, especially ground nesting bird nests, compete for their food sources and can spread disease and parasites.

Reducing Impacts Around the Home

Properly-maintained fencing will keep feral hogs from entering your yard. Attaching net wire fence that is flush to the ground works well. Fences need not be higher than 36 inches.

If feral hogs are entering an unfenced area, remove their food sources – rake up acorns, remove bulbs, fence off your garden. Chasing them off will prove effective in the moment but they are likely to return and likely at night. No chemical repellants are currently labeled for use. Physical deterrents such as motion-activated sprinklers or ultrasonic animal repellants have not been proven effective.

Trapping is a common method to control feral hogs though often not completely effective, entire sounders are difficult to catch, and remaining individuals may return. Contact your local Texas A&M Agri-Life Extension Biologist or Technician for technical assistance and, in some cases, direct control of feral hogs (contact info below).

Regulations

Feral hogs may be killed or trapped on private property without a State of Texas license or permit with landowner consent. Discharge of firearms of any kind within The Woodlands Township  is not permitted.. If a landowner or their agent plans to trap or snare hogs they should have a valid Texas hunting license, since these activities could affect other wildlife species. For additional regulations governing hunting and control of feral hogs consult the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.

Transportation and release of live feral hogs is unlawful, unless in compliance with Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) regulations. The TAHC regulates the movement of feral swine for disease-control purposes. For more information, consult the Texas Animal Health Commission website.

Who to Contact

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension - Wildlife Services will provide technical assistance and, in some cases, direct control of feral hogs 

Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute to submit a public report of feral hog activity or seek advice 

Texas Parks and Wildlife: Feral Hogs for education on feral pics, reducing their impacts and to report wild hogs