It’s been more than 500 years since the Spanish first came to Lowcountry and South Carolina is still trying to take care of one big problem they left behind.
This problem lies in the fact that way back in the 1500s the Spaniards released wild pigs in the coastal areas of the state and descendants of those pigs are still around today.
Granted I’ve spent a lifetime on Edisto and have only seen a wild pig once, but they’re out there. The one that I saw was standing on the banks of the marsh opposite of Pine Island. The pig was large and muddy and looked out of place in an area where it is more common to see herons standing, but it was a good reminder that wild pigs are yet another animal that call Edisto home.
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, pigs can be found in all 46 counties in the state. They pose a problem because they are not native to the land (in spite of being around for centuries) and so they compete with native animals for food. They also eat just about anything and are blamed for uprooting lawns and crops.
In addition to their bad behavior on lawns and crops, they carry disease, which poses a risk to the other wildlife in the area.
It’s legal to hunt the pigs on private property all year long, but according to SCDNR experts that doesn’t help control the population because they breed at such a rapid rate.
One predator in the area that helps control the pig population a little is the American alligator. Some Edisto locals who spend hours fishing in the creeks have said that they have witnessed these wild pigs try and cross a creek only to find themselves taken down by an awaiting alligator hungry for a ham dinner.
Although it’s pretty rare to see a wild pig on Edisto, they are out there. Keep an eye out for them the next time you find yourself traveling through the creeks check to see if one pops its face up out of the marsh grass. It’s definitely a sight to remember.