AHWAHNEE, Calif. — Wild pigs roaming the Central California foothills are turning rural yards into hog heaven, ripping through lawns and shrubbery as they seek roots, worms and other buried edibles.
The pigs have roamed the state for decades, but this year something has driven more of them into inhabited areas, experts say. And they seem to be more destructive.
"It's like somebody's out there all night with a tractor," said Clu Cotter, a California Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist who is responsible for Madera and Fresno counties.
Hungry herds ranging from a dozen up to 40 pigs can quickly transform a well-manicured yard into something resembling a war zone. They destroy drip irrigation systems for a cool slurp of water. They have ripped through barbed-wire fences to pig out on lawns.
The animals can be foul tempered, especially when they're protecting their young. But when one is shot, the rest of the herd usually vanishes into the night. They're smart and wary, Cotter said.
Some homeowners in the foothills have permits to shoot the invaders. Others have traps set.
Glenn Harmelin is among those who have taken the battle to the pigs.
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