Skip

Hoggin'
August 7, 2010 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Feral hogs can be a real problem. They destroy native ecosystems and are difficult to catch and relocate (previously). But folks, now we have a real problem. Radioactive boars are on the loose in Germany.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (26 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
This sounds like the beginnings of a zombie movie.
posted by dabitch at 6:07 AM on August 7, 2010


That's it, back to the Vault for me.
posted by a young man in spats at 6:16 AM on August 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was kind of hoping they had grown to huge sizes and were being fought with robots, but no.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:25 AM on August 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


And my mother said I was wasting time playing Duke Nukem...
posted by splatta at 6:25 AM on August 7, 2010


Hogzilla Lives!
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 6:26 AM on August 7, 2010


Well, there are stories of them bursting into supermarkets. Occasionally, they'll break up a church meeting. Quite often they'll be causing car accidents, that kind of thing.


So we'll be seeing the headline "Anti-Consumerist, Atheist Radioactive Boars Devastate Socialist Germany's Once-Vaunted Transportation Infrastructure in a Vindication of the Free Market," soon then, huh?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:28 AM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you get bitten by a radioactive hog, what powers do you get? "My bacon-sense is tingling!"

I frequently see wild hogs on my outings in the woods, but thankfully none of them have ever charged at me with laser-beam eyes.
posted by Gator at 6:30 AM on August 7, 2010


They destroy native ecosystems

You should distinguish between places where they have been introduced by dumbass hunters looking for something else to shoot, and places where they are native -- where they are part of the native ecosystem -- and should be tolerated as much as possible. They belong in a great deal of the world, though human fucking around, as usual, creates imbalances.
posted by pracowity at 6:30 AM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


And as the radiation sort of sinks into the earth, the roots of truffles and mushrooms tend to collect them more.

Pigs are not the only animals affected by the lingering radiation surrounding Chernobyl.

Fallout from Chernobyl included iodine-131 which has a relatively short half-life (6 months) and much, much larger amounts of strontium-90 and cesium-137 which both have half-lives of about 30 years. There is still a tremendous amount of both in the surrounding area, but widely dispersed.

The problem with iodine-131 is that it gets concentrated by grazing animals (like cows) who concentrate the isotopes. This is the reason, children in Sweden were advised to not drink milk in the months following the disaster. (A nice cloud of this crap settled over southern Sweden.) Children were given ordinary iodine to load the thyroid to prevent radioactive iodine-131 from being absorbed.

Maybe someone can explain for me how mushrooms concentrate Stontium-90 and Cesium-137 more than, for example, raspberries or blueberries growing in the same region? Mushrooms don't have a particularly extensive root system.

Moreover, whilst wild boars range freely and over a wide area, so do plenty of other animals. It is what they eat, or the volume that they eat, or is it that there are other reasons feral pigs are unwanted and tarring them as "radioactive" provides one more reason to kill them?
posted by three blind mice at 6:35 AM on August 7, 2010


Mushrooms don't have a particularly extensive root system.

This isn't true. The mushroom that we see or eat is only the fruiting body or reproductive organ of the fungus. The hyphae, or 'roots' of the fungus can stretch for many square feet, sometimes miles. It would be this large and closely intertwined network of hyphae that would allow mushrooms to bioaccumulate the isotopes more effectively than a small shrub.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:44 AM on August 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


I originally read this as "radioactive bears".

That is much more awesome.
posted by ixohoxi at 6:57 AM on August 7, 2010


The Chernobyl accident happened in April of 1986. I went to live in Hannover, West Germany as an exchange student from 1986-87. That year, I went to Munich several times, and liked to eat at the Augustinerkeller. One evening I decided to have a very very Bavarian dinner -- wild deer and mushrooms. The VERY NEXT MORNING I got up to see the front page story of Die Zeit displayed at newsstands everywhere -- because of Chernobyl, for god's sake whatever you do, DON'T EAT WILD DEER AND MUSHROOMS.

I had no idea that today, nearly 25 years later, radioactive boars would be a problem.
posted by hippybear at 6:59 AM on August 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


How long until we owe up to the growing threat of the PIG BOMB?

For the longest time I carried quite the grudge for wild boars due to what they did to Ol' Yeller. Now, I only like razorbacks so long as they're dressed in cardinal and white.
posted by Atreides at 7:06 AM on August 7, 2010


Plus they steal all those eggs from those nice birds...

I wondered why the pigs were green... The radioactivity explains everything.
posted by booksherpa at 7:14 AM on August 7, 2010


Breed them with these little link sausage GloSticks. Hunt at night.
posted by hal9k at 7:21 AM on August 7, 2010


I am beginning to think that Reagan was tricked into bringing down the Berlin Wall to allow the Soviet radioactive pig sleeper agents to run amok.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:28 AM on August 7, 2010


Moe: "What does the Geiger counter say?"
Larry: "'Click click click click click click'."
Moe: "C'mon, gimme that... Eureka!"
Larry: "Hey, we're looking for wild boars, not eureka."
posted by steef at 7:55 AM on August 7, 2010


kuujjuarapik: It would be this large and closely intertwined network of hyphae that would allow mushrooms to bioaccumulate the isotopes more effectively than a small shrub.

Thank you kuujjuarapik. I did not know this. Is this true for all fungae or only certain types - such as truffles?
posted by three blind mice at 8:07 AM on August 7, 2010


The wikipedia page on mycelium is pretty informative on how fungus grows. The mushroom part is only the "flower"... the real work is mostly done out of sight.
posted by hippybear at 8:31 AM on August 7, 2010


or is it that there are other reasons feral pigs are unwanted and tarring them as "radioactive" provides one more reason to kill them?

The reason to kill them has nothing to do with the radioactivity, it's because their natural predators (wolves) are gone. Actually though, boars have been hunted in Germany for so many thousands of years that humans are actually their greatest "natural predator". The radioactivity just prevents people eating them.
posted by atrazine at 8:40 AM on August 7, 2010


Is this true for all fungae or only certain types - such as truffles?

I know that it's true for most of the basidomycetes. If I recall right, truffles are associated with certain species of trees but I'm not sure if they would associate with a single tree or with the whole stand, and run networks in between.

It is far easier to recognize the fruiting body of a mushroom than it is to recognize the hyphae. That is why there isn't much information about how large a particular hyphae network or mycelium actually can be. This often requires DNA testing to figure out what type of fungus it is, and whether it is a single organism or part of a colony. So yes, I would say that it is generally true for the fungae that grow large enough to have fruiting bodies.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:44 AM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


That first link is a pretty fascinating read, AHAWO

I was going to go register atomichogs.com but, drat, someone beat me to it. And at least one cartoonist was prescient He-Hog, the Atomic Pig and a video clip (from the Ren & Stimpy folks)
posted by madamjujujive at 9:25 AM on August 7, 2010


I was going to go register atomichogs.com but, drat, someone beat me to it.

Looks like hogzilla.com might still be available.

That He-Hog link is great:

This is Mr. Meat.

Mr.Meat has the power of meat. He was raised by meat. He can summon meat to his bidding. He is determined to free meats from all over the world and give them voting rights. He has a love-hate relationship with He Hog. On the one hand, he loves him-because He Hog is the greatest collection of meats in the world-a mess of super meats! On the other hand he hates He Hog for not releasing his meats... for enslaving them to his skeleton.

Mr. Meat is slightly unhinged.


A hog is the "greatest collection of meats in the world - a mess of super meats." Perfect. I'm gonna use that!
posted by three blind mice at 9:35 AM on August 7, 2010


So if the half life of the worst isotope in the fallout is 30 years, then everything should be golden by 2045? Is that how half-lives and isotopes work in the Boar model?
posted by hanoixan at 12:58 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


My family moved to West Germany, near Stuttgart, in the fall of 1986. I was six. We got most of our food from the American military bases, and all of our milk products were shipped over from the US. For the longest time, I thought there was no real milk in Europe because Germans all seemed to drink Parmalat. Eventually my dad explained to me that dairy products in Europe had been poisoned by Communists* and now all the cows were radioactive.



*crazy talk
posted by brina at 1:23 PM on August 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I originally read this as "radioactive bears".

That is much more awesome.


You need to go to the US for that.
posted by AdamCSnider at 3:05 PM on August 7, 2010


« Older An Imagined Conversation with Four Educators   |   Signing Bohemian Rhapsody while driving Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post