Texas woman mauled to death by feral hogs in 'very rare incident'

A Texas woman has died after being mauled by feral hogs, an attack the county Sheriff describes as "one of the worst things" he's seen.

On Sunday morning, healthcare worker Christine Rollins, 59, arrived in rural Anahuac, near Houston, to look after an ill and elderly couple. She was fatally assaulted by the wild pigs outside the property and reportedly died at the scene.

"This is an unbelievably tragic, very rare incident," Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said in a statement.

"In my 35 years I will tell you, it's one of the worst things I've ever seen."

Hawthorne said he would not go into detail about the disturbing attack, but noted the bites and bruises of varying sizes indicated multiple animals were involved.

An autopsy confirmed Rollins' died from "exsanguination [bleeding to death] due to feral hog assault", Hawthorne announced in a press conference on Monday (local time).

Newshub's US correspondent Sally Hughes noted the rarity of the "gruesome" incident.

"It's rare they would do something like that," Hughes said on The AM Show on Wednesday.

"They bit her all over... there must have been some sort of situation. Maybe they were sick or hungry... female boars can be very protective of their babies. It's definitely a rare occurrence."

Detectives initially suspected Rollins' may have collapsed from a medical event, refusing to call it an animal attack until an official cause of death was ruled by the medical examiner.

There are approximately five million feral hogs in the United States, half of which reside in the southern state of Texas.

Christine Rollins.
Christine Rollins. Photo credit: Chambers County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

The topic of America's feral hog population was touched on in August when William McNabb, a self-proclaimed libertarian, became an internet sensation after interrupting a gun reform debate on Twitter with a "legit question".

"How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my hard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?" McNabb tweeted.

The Arkansas man explained that 30 to 50 feral hogs had appeared in his yard "four times". 

However, feral hogs do pose a legitimate problem. The animals cause billions in damage annually, destroying native habitats, killing wildlife and disturbing locals, according to the US department of agriculture.

Hawthorne told local media there have been six deaths by feral hogs reported in US history.

Police believe the hogs have taken over some of the pasture and woods of the family land where Rollins' died.

No one reported hearing the incident.