…Did You Know?
- Pigs are extraordinarily intelligent. They are curious and insightful animals who are widely accepted as being smarter than young children of at least 3 years of age, dogs, and even some primates.
- Pigs are extremely social animals. They form close bonds with other individuals and love close contact and lying down together.
- Pigs are very clean, keeping their toilet area far away from where they lie down and eat. Even newborn piglets will leave the nest to go to the toilet within hours of birth.
- Pigs are very peaceful animals, rarely showing aggression. The exception, as with many animals, is when a mother (sow) with her young offspring is provoked or threatened.
- Wild pigs play an important role in managing ecosystems and maintaining biodiversity. By rooting, and thus disturbing the soil, they create areas for new plant colonisation. They also spread fruit plants by dispersing their seeds.
- Pigs have a tremendous sense of smell. The large round disk of cartilage at the tip of the snout is connected to muscle that gives it extra flexibility and strength for rooting in the ground.
- Winston Churchill famously said that “Dogs look up to man. Cats look down to man. Pigs look us straight in the eye and see an equal.”
- There are numerous stories of pigs that have saved the lives of humans. For example, a pet pig called Pru pulled her owner out of a muddy bog, and another, Priscilla, saved a young boy from drowning.
- The pig is the last of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. The pig is seen to represent, fortune, honesty, happiness and virility.
- The meat of pigs is widely eaten by people across the world. Many people who consume animal products would like to choose products from animals kept in higher welfare systems. However welfare labelling on products can be confusing.
One of the distinct pig characteristics is their cleanliness. Contrary to other people’s belief, pigs are generally clean animals. This is shown by their choice of toilet far away from their food and water troughs and their shelter. They will also not sleep or lay near the manure. They use mud to block their sensitive skin from the sun and insect bites.
Pigs, like other animals, have sweat glands only on their snouts. That is why they love to be near the water or mud especially in hot weather.
Pigs are near-sighted. They use their sense of smell and hearing to guide them where to go. Pigs also use their snouts to look for food. They are like dogs that sniff things they want to find.
Pigs generally can live for 10-15 years if well cared for. They will keep on growing until they are four to five years old. However, some breeds, like the potbelly pig, do not share these general pig characteristics. They usually weigh only 60 to 300 pounds, depending on what type of diet they are fed. Micro-mini pigs or teacup pigs weigh 29 to 65 pounds, and are specially bred to be small.