Did you know that pigs are quite intelligent creatures? Have you ever noticed a pig taking a treat from its owner? When it comes to pigs, most people think of them as only livestock, but pigs are much more than that. Pigs have emotional intelligence and can make cute and interesting pets.
Surprisingly, there are many fascinating and fun facts about pigs that we’ll explore in this article. Grab a chair, and let’s dive into the fascinating world of pigs.
Top 18 Pig Facts:
1. Pigs Can Be Trained Like Dogs
You read that right. Yes, pigs can make wonderful companion animals, just like dogs. They are smart enough to be taught basic commands, walk on a leash, or even house trained. Keep in mind, though, that pigs need adequate space to roam, and they may not be suitable as pets for some people.
2. Pigs Are Not Dirty Animals
When it comes to pigs, most people believe them to be filthy animals, but contrary to belief, this isn’t the case. They are careful not to soil the areas where they eat and sleep, making them very clean animals. Who would have thought?
3. They Have No Sweat Glands
You know the saying, “sweating like a pig.” Amazingly, pigs have no sweat glands1, rendering them the inability to sweat. To keep cool, they’ll roll around in the mud. They’re not opposed to a cool shower, either.
4. Pigs Communicate With One Another
Pigs communicate2 by using body language, vocal communication3, and scent/pheromones. Vocal communication can be grunts, screams, barks, and squeals. Body language can be tail wagging, posture, making eye contact, head movements, and close contact.
Each type of vocalization carries a meaning. A high-pitched scream indicates fear or pain, while a low-pitched vocalization indicates they are calm and comfortable. If they’re angry or agitated, they’ll grind their teeth, much in the way a human would do.
5. Pigs Were Domesticated 9,000 Years Ago
DNA4 studies indicate that by 4500 BC, farmers had a hand in bringing domesticated pigs to Europe by incorporating wild boar into their herds. Pigs are actually among the first animals to be domesticated behind dogs.
6. Pigs Can Dream
Pigs love their beauty rest and usually sleep for 8 hours, and while they’re sleeping, they can dream. Research indicates that pigs enter the R.E.M.5 sleep cycle, which means they are in a deep sleep. This cycle is when humans dream, and it holds true for pigs, too!
7. Pigs Love to Play
Who says toys are just for cats and dogs? It turns out pigs love to play with toys, too. Pigs love kongs just as much as dogs, and if you put a little peanut butter inside, they’ll make happy little grunt noises showing their contentment. They’ll also enjoy playing with basketballs and soccer balls. Pigs can get bored6, and providing them with some form of entertainment will help them both mentally and physically.
8. George Clooney Had a Pet Pig
George Clooney is one of many celebrities that have owned pigs as pets. His pet pig, Max, was with him for around 18 years. Can you believe that his pig slept in the bed with him until he got too big? It’s true!7 Once Max reached 250 pounds, sleeping in his bed was out of the question. Among other celebrities that have owned pigs as pets are David Beckham, Miley Cyrus, Tori Spelling, and Paris Hilton, to name a few.
9. Pigs Have Outstanding Memories
Pigs have an extraordinary long-term memory. Pigs forage for their food, and studies show that a pig will remember a specific place where it previously received food. They can also remember objects and find their way home if they get lost because they have a great sense of direction. Studies show that pigs are smarter than dogs and three-year-old humans.
10. Female Pigs Make Exceptional Mothers
Female pigs have a deep love for their piglets, much like human mothers. Pig mothers go to great lengths to make sure their piglets are safe and happy. If their piglets are taken away, the mother will mourn and cry, just like a human mother would do.
Before giving birth, the mother pig will build a nest for the piglets’ arrival to ensure a safe and secluded place for them to be born. She’ll stay with the piglets for about 2 weeks before rejoining the herd and teaching her piglets several survival techniques. She never loses her maternal instincts, as she’ll always protect her young, even when they are fully grown. Another sweet fact is that the mother will “sing” to her piglets to let them know it’s time to eat. She’ll also nudge her piglets with her snout if they get out of line.
11. Pig Have Feelings
Did you know that pigs can suffer from depression? Pigs can feel sadness and anxiety, but they also feel happiness. Pigs are aware of their surroundings, and if they are confined inside small places, they can get depressed. Pigs like to play and have fun, and depriving them of these activities can result in a depressed pig.
12. Pigs Are Compassionate
Pigs do not like to see suffering in either another animal or a human. Seeing such things will cause them distress. Pigs are known to be social animals, and they can empathize with each other and humans. If you’re around a pig and feeling blue, odds are the pig will pick up on that emotion and try to comfort you.
13. Pigs Eat Slowly
Much to the contrary regarding the saying, “pig out,” pigs do anything but. Pigs like to savor their food and can be picky eaters. In the wild, pigs forage for food, and they enjoy a mixture instead of the same menu day in and day out. Just like humans, they prefer a variety.
14. Pig Beach Exists
In the Bahamas, there is an uninhabited place called Pig Beach. Officially known as Big Major Cay, this beach is home to a colony of around 20 feral pigs that love to receive visits from people. You can access the beach by private plane, ferry, or boat. From Nassau, it takes about 30 minutes to get there, making it a perfect little outing for the day.
15. Pigs Can Learn Tricks
Because pigs are intelligent, you can train them to learn tricks, much like a dog. If you have a pet pig, training is paramount in teaching them manners and respect. You can teach them to walk on a leash and go for walks. You can even purchase a puzzle toy for your pet pig’s mental stimulation. They will also respond to clicker training. You can teach them to sit, stay, and even spin.
16. Pigs Can Weigh Up to 700 Pounds
A pig’s weight ranges anywhere from 300 to 700 pounds. A pig named Big Bill reached 5 feet tall and weighed in at a whopping 2,552 pounds. Big Bill made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. To put this into perspective, he could stand shoulder to shoulder with the average height of a 12-year-old girl.
17. They Sleep Nose to Nose With One Another
Since pigs are social animals, they love to sleep close together for comfort. It’s calming to them to feel the touch of one another, and it’s not unusual to see them sleeping nose to nose. If you ever happen to see this site, rest assured they are at peace and content at that very moment.
18. Pigs Are Sprinters
It may come as a surprise that pigs can run pretty fast. Pigs can reach speeds of up to 11 miles per hour, and wild pigs can run even faster, reaching up to 30 miles per hour! Another interesting fact is that they can jump over a fence that is less than 3 feet high.
Given their hefty size and weight, one would guess that they wouldn’t be capable of such speeds, but you’d be surprised!
Pigs are beautiful creatures that are intelligent and have emotions. Pigs are deserving of good lives, and there are many rescues and sanctuaries all over the world.
Not everyone has the resources to own a pet pig, but if you’re so inclined to help pigs in need, you can donate or volunteer at a rescue near you. Now that you know how sociable and loving pigs are, you’ll enjoy hanging out with them and observing their remarkable abilities to feel and give love, as well as play and learn tricks.
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Featured Image Credit: dyoma, Shutterstock