Wild Pigs / 06.10.12

Our first night of camping we met a man walking two dogs who said to watch out for wild pigs. We took his warning seriously, but with a grain of salt. We saw no pigs.

Several other people gave us similar warnings, and Claudia back at “base camp” (Worms, Germany) told us how she was once chased on a horse all the way back to town by a protective mother boar.

We thought we heard one once, early in the morning–a loud belching bark in the pre-dawn enough to raise your hackles. Peter and Lindsey heard and saw one while camping in a vineyard, but it was only a dark shape and moved away when Peter stood up. And Kallie saw one in the ditch as road kill. She said it was the size of a small dog, and hairy.

It wasn’t until we paid for our first official campsite in Southern France that we saw the pigs. I was trying to fix my air mattress, which had been letting me down lately. It was about 9:30 p.m. and through the dark I heard their trotting. They came fast, and I could see shapes and movement, and I knew they had stopped by our food pile just outside Devin and Tori’s tent. I dropped my air mattress and strode quickly toward the dark shapes and hissed. They scattered slightly, but only about 10 feet away, and stood watching me in silence. I picked up a handful of rocks from the path, hesitated a moment, and then tossed them high and they scattered and landed. I heard a grunt and a start, and from the lights of the campground I caught a glimpse of them moving away. Devin crawled out and asked what it was. “Pigs,” I said, and told him to grab his flashlight and follow me. We spotted them about 30 meters away, a mother and three teens following her, about the size of a lab and some beagles. They moved off into the night, and soon we could hear some dogs barking farther down.

We marveled for a moment. Then I said, “Well, we better string up the food. These are like the bears of the USA campgrounds I guess…” The rest of the night was quiet, with only the occasional plop and whisk of falling leaves and acorns.

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One Comment

  1. Rod said on October 8, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Sounds like a farrowing & harrowing experience! I was holding my breath about the air mattress as well-hoping you are buoyed up as needed!

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