ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Early in the morning and late at night, feral hogs scamper out of a nearby wooded area and begin roaming the streets of the Beacon Park subdivision in search of food.
Unfortunately for homeowners, the invasive animal’s preferred delicacy of grubs and roots is buried under the community’s well-manicured St. Augustine lawns that the wild boars shred apart with their tusks.
“I’ve seen them over by the mailbox. I’ve seen them over by the pool where the kids get on the bus,” said Krystle McCoy, who recently had to repair damage to her front lawn caused by the feral hogs.
Wild boars are responsible for more than $1.5 billion in property damage annually nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with much of that occurring in Florida.
McCoy said she first noticed the hogs in March, but the damage has intensified in recent weeks.
Besides making the community unsightly, McCoy is concerned that the feral hogs might injure someone in her neighborhood.
“Someone can be attacked and hurt or worse,” McCoy said. “I’ve been running out to my car because I don’t know what to expect. They could be right behind me or up the street and I don’t want to get attacked.”
Although injuries are rare, a Brevard County wildlife trapper required stitches after a wild boar ripped open his leg as he was trying to capture the animal in 2019.
Communities with feral hog problems occasionally hire professional trappers to catch the animals. The boars can also be legally hunted.
People living in the Beacon Park community said they have been in contact with various property and homeowners associations that oversee the neighborhood but have been told there is little the associations can do to address the hogs.
Although many hope the boars will eventually move on to other, undeveloped areas in search of food, McCoy worries that they will stick around for a while near her home.
“They found their spot and they’re going to keep coming back,” she said.