Herpetofauna populations are decreasing worldwide, and the range of wild pigs (Sus scrofa) is expanding. Depredation of threatened reptile and amphibian populations by wild pigs could be substantial. By understanding depredation characteristics and rates, more resources can be directed toward controlling populations of wild pigs coincident with threatened or endangered herpetofauna populations. From April 2005 to March 2006 we used firearms to collect wild pigs (n = 68) and examined stomach content for reptiles and amphibians. We found 64 individual reptiles and amphibians, composed of 5 different species, that were consumed by wild pigs during an estimated 254 hours of foraging. Primarily arboreal species (e.g., Anolis carolinensis) became more vulnerable to depredation when temperatures were low and they sought thermal shelter. Other species (e.g., Scaphiopus holbrookii) that exhibit mass terrestrial migrations during the breeding season also faced increased vulnerability to depredation by wild pigs. Results suggest that wild pigs are opportunistic consumers that can exploit and potentially have a negative impact on species with particular life-history characteristics. ?? 2009 American Society of Mammalogists.
Additional publication details
Estimate of herpetofauna depredation by a population of wild pigs