Sus scrofa

Threats Status

Unwanted Organism

Common Name(s)

Feral pig,pig, kuhukuhu, kune-kune, petapeta




Feral pigs occur in various habitats up to 1200m elevation, where they can find adequate food sources, water and cover. In New Zealand they inhabit mainly exotic forest, but also thick areas of bracken or gorse near farmland and tussock grassland with adjacent sheltered areas. They are omnivorous, opportunistic feeders mainly eating fruits of native tress and sweet briar, including roots nettles, thistles, supplejack and bracken; the bases of nikau; and exotic grasses. Especially in winter and spring they also feed on animals like amphipods, beetles, centipedes, frogs, earthworms, lizards, native snails, ground-nesting birds and their eggs and rodents.


Feral pigs are smaller and generally more muscular than domestic pigs. They have a very narrow back, massive forequarter and much smaller hindquarters.The hair colour of feral pigs is usually brown or black.

Similar Species

The body shape of feral pigs is similar to the domestic pig, but wild pigs are generally thinner and their hair is coarser. They have longer canine teeth or tusks than domestic pigs.

Threat To Plants

Pigs can damage forests by eating or uprooting seedlings of trees and and other plants with palatable leaves or stems, including ferns and some orchids. They can also break open tree-fern trunks in searching for starch.


Widespread throughout New Zealand


Weight: 180 kg; acromial height: 1.1–1.5 m

Year Introduced

Before the 1800s

Reason For Introduction

They were introduced into New Zealand as a food source by early explorers and settlers.

Colonisation History

First introduced into New Zealand at Doubtless Bay (Northland) by de Surville in 1769, but it is assumed that these and other later releases by Captain Furneaux were no progenitors of any later feral populations. From the 1790s onwards more species were introduced to establish populations as a future food supply, castaways and for Maori (they also greatly valued the pigs using them as barter with other tribes and as additional food source). By 1840 feral populations were well established around most European and Maori settlements. Numbers increased during both Word Wars due to a lack of ruffles, ammunition, petrol and hunters, but have since been reduced by control operations and habitat changes.