If you’ve read “Charlotte’s Web,” you may remember Wilbur’s excitement when the slop pail comes around, full of castoffs from the farm kitchen. Pigs are omnivores, which is bad news for large swaths of North America that are plagued by feral hogs.

These animals, descended from livestock brought here by settlers centuries ago, are well-known scourges to farmers. In a recent study at Mississippi State University, wildlife ecologist Marcus Lashley found that areas where wild pigs foraged also had significantly fewer mammal and bird species. As one landowner told the researchers, feral hogs “pretty much eat anything with a calorie in it.

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Wild boar in a swamp in Slidell, Louisiana. AP Photo/Rebecca Santana

Feral pigs harm wildlife and biodiversity as well as crops

Marcus Lashley, Mississippi State University

Feral pigs are a destructive invasive species across much of North America. In a recent study, forest patches where feral pigs were present had fewer mammal and bird species than swine-free zones.

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