Pigs, scientifically known as Sus scrofa domesticus, are domesticated mammals belonging to the family Suidae. They are widely recognized for their economic importance, intelligence, and diverse roles in human culture and agriculture. There are hundreds of known breeds of domestic pigs, coming in different shapes and sizes. Some breeds, such as the Mulefoot, Ossabaw Island hog, and the Choctaw hog, are considered critically endangered and nearing extinction. The smallest breed is the Göttingen minipig, commonly kept as a pet pig.
Pigs are stout-bodied animals with a snout-like nose, floppy ears, and a distinctive curly tail. They have hooves and can vary in color and size depending on the breed.
Pigs are omnivores, which means they can consume both plant material and small animals. Their diet typically consists of grains, vegetables, and foraging.
Here Are Some Interesting Facts About Pigs.
• Unlike the common misconception that pigs are the dirtiest animal, No! That’s not true, they are actually very clean animals and would not defecate where they eat or sleep. Even newborn piglets will leave their sleeping areas to relieve themselves. That’s how clean pigs are!
• The above misconception comes from their habit of wallowing in mud and water, the major reason pigs wallow in water is not because they are dirty, it’s because they do not have functional sweat glands. Yes! Pigs don’t sweat, so they are always in water to cool themselves and regulate body temperature. They actually rely on other methods to dissipate their body heat.
• With over 20 identified pig sounds, pigs communicate through oinking, grunting, and squealing. Pig squeals in particular can get as loud as 115 dB, or almost as loud as the average rock concert at 120 dB. This is definitely one of the more interesting pig facts.
• Pigs are the fifth most intelligent animals in the world. They are self-aware and can recognize themselves in a mirror, a feat that only few animals can do. They can understand how reflections work and can locate food using the reflections as a guide.
• Not only are they intelligent, but pigs also possess an extremely vivid memory. Unlike other animals, pigs are unlikely to forget what they’ve learned. With their episodic memory, pigs have the ability to remember specific events in their lives.
• When kept in a group they will snuggle close to one another, and prefer to sleep nose-to-nose. Studies have also shown that, much like humans, they dream.
• Pigs have played significant roles in the cultures of various civilizations. In ancient Egypt, they were associated with the goddess Isis, and the pig cult of Demeter existed in ancient Greece.
• Newborn piglets learn to run to their mothers’ voices, and can recognize their own names by the time they’re 2 weeks old. Sows have even been known to ‘sing’ to their young whilst nursing!
• As with humans, each pig possesses individual behavioral traits that make up their personality. Some pigs are more rambunctious and curious, whereas others are more laid-back and shy.
• Pigs prefer to be in groups, and become stressed when they are alone. They form strong bonds with one another, and even other animals and humans! These friendships can last their lifetime. When kept in groups, pigs can be found snuggling close to one another for comfort and warmth.
• Pigs are navigators: they can find their way home over large distances. They can often trot long distances and can reach up to 11 miles per hour running.
• The Exuma district of the Bahamas has islands fully inhabited by feral swimming pigs. Most notably, they are a tourist attraction around Pig Beach in Big Major Cay.
• Domestic pigs live for around 15 to 20 years.
• Aside from their life-saving abilities, the pig is also associated with fertility and virility in China. This has led to statues of pigs being displayed prominently in the bedrooms of Chinese couples who are trying to have children.
• And when they’re not squealing, they’re talking. Pigs communicate constantly with each other, and more than 20 different vocalizations have been identified; from wooing a mate to saying ‘I’m hungry!
• Pigs are also regarded as smarter than even dogs, learning tricks fairly quickly and can even be trained to herd sheep and play video games. Some aspects of their intelligence are also comparable to those of primates.
• The Entelodont, nicknamed as terminator pigs or hell pigs, were large omnivores that roamed the Earth around 37-16 million years ago from the Eocene to the Miocene epochs. They had large canines and powerful jaws that allowed them to scavenge meat and eat a variety of foods, such as small mammals and tough vegetation.
• Domestic pigs can run up to 11 mph (17.7 km/h), with the ability to navigate in zigzag motions to escape would-be predators. Their wild cousins, however, aren’t as heavy as domestic pigs and can run at speeds of up to 15 mph (24 km/h).
• In relation to the size of their bodies, pigs have small lungs. This makes pigs susceptible to respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis. In fact, a 1996 study found that as much as 30-80% of farmed pigs had lung lesions related to pneumonia.
• There are various accounts of pigs being used in ancient wars. War pigs are reportedly highly effective against war elephants, because the elephants were terrified of the squealing pigs. In 275 BC, ancient Romans used war pigs to frighten the war elephants of Pyrrhus.
• Like many social animals, pigs can empathize with other pigs. They can connect with other pigs emotionally and reflect those emotions. For example, when a pig gets excited about something like music, the other pigs will get excited as well even if they haven’t had any prior experience with the music.