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7/27/17- A Very Odd Hairball

By Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist


If you have a hunting camp or own land, you are accustomed to most odd things you see in the woods. For instance, a cow pelvis leaning up against a tree or an old wheel that looks like it fell off a covered wagon just yesterday. Well, wildlife biologist Dave Edwards and fellow hunting guide Jody Smith also believed they had seen it all. Boy, were they wrong.

Cabin Bluff is a Cumberland River Retreat nestled along Georgia’s coast and is home to many alligators and feral pigs, as it borders miles of marshes and wetlands; two habitats both feral pigs and alligators thrive in. While rummaging around in the woods, hunting guide Smith stumbled upon what looked like a coconut. After attempting to slice it open with a machete and continuously failing, Smith took the large coconut like object to Edwards. It was then that they determined it was a hairball made of dense feral hog hair. They concluded that the hairball had probably been coughed up by a hog that had eaten a deceased hog. When the cannibal hog died, all that was left was the ball of hair that did not decompose with the rest of the body. Smith and Edwards were amazed, but knew that hogs commit cannibalism regularly and the surprise and shock quickly faded. Just as life returned to normal and the hairball was nearly forgotten about, a new twist to the story was unveiled. An alligator was killed in an automobile collision on a road near Cabin Bluff a few weeks later. Smith gutted the gator like any good hunting guide would do and to his surprise a large hairball was found inside the gator. Smith relayed his finding to Edwards who then researched the hairball. Edwards found some very interesting details regarding indigestible masses that form in the stomachs of all kinds of animals. It turns out that cats are not the only animals to experience fur balls!

Please visit the QDMA website to read the entire article written by Wildlife Biologist Dave Edwards. The story will make you scratch your head and wonder, could alligators be the answer to our feral pig headaches? It won’t happen overnight, but given the right sequence of events, could they reduce local feral pig populations in states that have an abundance of marshes and wetlands? It’s something to think about, that’s for sure!!


By: Red Clay

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