Diets, Nutrition, and Reproduction of Feral Hogs on Cumberland Island, Georgia

Detailed knowledge of a species' biology and ecology is required before sitespecific management programs can be implemented. Therefore, we examined seasonal changes in food habits, nutritional status, and reproduction in a sample of 54 feral hogs (Sits scrofa) collected over a 2-year period from Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia. Seasonal variations in food habits probably were related to changes in food availability. Differences in seasonal rainfall patterns between years appeared to be related to dietary changes. No significant seasonal changes in body mass, fat indices, or crude protein in stomach contents were evident, which indicated that hogs on this subtropical island may not undergo pronounced seasonal variations in nutritional status. An exception occurred in May/June 1986 when greater (P < 0.05) kidney fat levels were observed coincident with a unique predominance (54.2%) of grape (Vitis sp.) leaves in the diet and a mean ovulation rate (14.8 corpora lutea/sow) that was double any other collection month. Reproduction in feral hogs may be highly responsive to short-term dietary changes, as is the case in domestic swine.

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