Pest Profile


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Scientific name: Sus scrofa

Present since early European settlement, feral or wild pigs in Australia are descendants of various domestic pig breeds. Populations of feral pigs have since spread by natural dispersal, accidental escape and deliberate release across 45 per cent of mainland Australia and occur on several offshore islands.

Feral pigs are considered both an agricutural and environmental pest due to their selective feeding, trampling and rooting for underground parts of plants and invertebrates, while also fouling freshwater systems. Feral pigs consume a range of native plants and they compete with native wildlife for food, water and shelter, while also preying directly on various wildlife species and their eggs. Feral pigs will eat a range of native animals including, earthworms, insects, amphibians, snails, reptiles, ground-nesting birds and their eggs, small mammals, freshwater crayfish, frogs, turtles and their eggs. 

Predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission by feral pigs has been listed as a key threatening process to threatened species conservation under the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Feral pigs are also vectors for a number of serious endemic and exotic diseases that have the potential to devastate commercial pig operations, as well as infect other animals and humans. Examples include:

  • Foot-and-Mouth Disease
  • Leptospirosis
  • Brucellosis
  • Melloidosis
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • African Swine Fever
Wild pigs
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