Wild Beast Rampage: The Surprising Threat Killing More Americans Than Sharks

By: Georgia | Published: Jun 10, 2024

It seems unbelievable, but it’s true—wild pigs are now killing more Americans than sharks. 

These encounters, once rare and confined to rural settings, are becoming a more common sight in urban spaces too, signaling a dramatic shift in wildlife interaction across the country.

"Feral Swine Bomb" Sounds Off

Local governments are sounding the alarm over what they’re calling a “feral swine bomb.”

A group of wild pigs grazing in a lush green field

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This burgeoning crisis, marked by a rapid increase in wild hog populations, is leading to widespread damage and heightened safety concerns in over 35 states.


Close Call in the Wild

Imagine facing off with wild pigs and having nowhere to escape. Craig Greene doesn’t have to imagine; he lived it in 2008.

A large wild boar and a smaller piglet standing in a muddy area in a forest

Source: Jonathan Kemper/Unsplash

Trapped in a tiny cage, he recalls the harrowing ordeal: “I know when they kill you, they’ll eat you while you’re screaming.”

Deadly Numbers

The statistics are as startling as they are grim: wild pigs are responsible for more fatalities than sharks worldwide.

Several wild pigs near a muddy watering hole, with some submerged in the water and others on the muddy banks

Source: Harold Malamion/Unsplash

Over the past decade, an average of nearly 20 people per year have died in wild pig attacks, outpacing the fatalities from sharks.

A Rising Toll

This year’s figures are particularly alarming, with seven deaths already attributed to wild pig attacks globally.

A group of wild pigs of various sizes seen foraging on the side of a road with dry grass and debris

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The increasing overlap of their habitats with human populations points to a serious and growing problem.

The Silent Killers

Dr. John Mayer of the Savannah River National Laboratory offers a stark comparison: “Wild pigs are certainly worse than bears, wolves, and all shark species put together.”

A large brown bear standing in shallow water with a wet fur coat, looking directly at the camera

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This comment illustrates the dangerous and often underestimated threat these animals pose.


A Tragic Incident in Texas

The danger hit home in Texas when a caregiver was killed by a pack of wild hogs.

A wild boar submerged in a muddy pool, looking directly at the camera with a background of driftwood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This tragedy is a powerful reminder of the potential for violence that these creatures can bring when they cross paths with humans.


When Wildlife Comes Knocking

As cities expand into the wilds, encounters with wild pigs are increasingly common.

A large wild boar stands alert in a lush green environment, with its snout covered in dirt

Source: Dušan veverkolog/Unsplash

Craig Greene shared with the Sun Sentinel how construction is driving these animals right into people’s backyards, altering the way we think about wildlife and urban living.


Farming on the Frontlines

The agricultural impacts of wild pigs are devastating.

A scenic view of a rural landscape featuring a large red house surrounded by green fields and trees

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Across the country, farmers are grappling with the significant damage and economic losses caused by these invasive creatures, which can destroy entire fields overnight.


A Dire Warning

The shadow of African Swine Fever looms large, threatening to cross into U.S. borders and devastate the pork industry.

An assortment of meats including steaks, sausages, and bacon strips cooking on a grill,

Source: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Dr. John Mayer paints a bleak picture, warning, “It’s the ultimate kiss of death for pigs. If it ever got into this country the way it spread through Eurasia, it would be the death knell of the U.S. pork industry.”


Community Countermeasures

In response to the escalating crisis, Flagler County has set up a “feral hog dashboard” to monitor and manage the situation.

Close-up view of a wild boar's face partially illuminated by sunlight, highlighting its coarse hair and sharp features

Source: Jonathan Kemper/Unsplash

This tool is part of a broader strategy to alleviate the stress and danger posed by these invasive animals to local communities.


Taking to the Skies

Texas has taken a bold approach to managing the wild pig problem—authorizing residents to hunt them from helicopters.

A black and white image of a helicopter in flight, shown from a side angle

Source: Cassio Nunes/Unsplash

This drastic measure reflects the severity of the issue and the determination of communities to find solutions to the ongoing threats posed by these aggressive animals.