Pigs are more than just sources of bacon! If anything, they are some of the most interesting animals we share the planet with. More than just swill-guzzling pink porcines, these grunting geniuses may well surprise you. Here are some interesting facts about pigs which you may not be aware of…
1. Pigs are probably cleaner than me or you!
‘Pigging out’ and ‘eating like a pig’ are misnomers. Pigs are actually very clean, slow-eating mammals. They digest all the food they eat slowly and savour the taste!
2. Pigs are super-intelligent.
Pigs are some of the most intelligent creatures on the planet. Studies suggest that they are smarter than dogs, and even human toddlers.
3. Pigs have been here a LONG time.
Pigs have been around since the age of the dinosaurs. Look up the ancient entelodont, and you will find a prehistoric pig-like species that grew to be seven feet tall – just at the shoulder! They are presumed to have been incredible predators. We wouldn’t have stood a chance!
4. Pigs love a spa day.
Pigs enjoy massages! This is to such an extent that pigs will often head off to find places to massage and scratch themselves.
5. Pigs can recognize each other from speech alone.
Pigs can understand individual voices of others in their litter, and piglets will learn the distinct tone of their mothers’ voices from an early age.
6. Pigs are dangerous!
While pigs may seem cute and cuddly, they can actually be fairly deadly. They carry a number of parasites and diseases which can be fatal to humans. That’s one good reason why, even if clean, you should always cook pork to full temperature before eating.
7. A pig likely won’t attack you.
However, most pigs will not show aggression, only choosing to charge or attack if they believe that their young is being threatened.
This goes against historical attempts to use pigs in times of warfare. However, their squeals were used to scare off larger animals, even if they posed zero physical threat.
8. Pigs are keen swimmers.
Did you know that pigs can swim?! There’s some famous swimming pigs that take to the sea at Exuma, Bahamas!
9. No dripping here!
Pigs cannot sweat – therefore, another phrase, ‘sweating like a pig’, is another misnomer.
10. Pigs are selective about how they walk!
Pigs have sixteen toes in total but will only ever walk on eight of them.
11. There are more pigs in the world than you might think!
There are thought to be around two billion pigs on the planet right now.
12. A pig never forgets.
The average pig is thought to have a memory so vast that it can recall events from its youth.
13. Pigs are trainable!
You can teach a pig similar tricks to that which you can teach a dog. In fact, a pig may take to learning its own name quicker than a dog!
14. You can bring a pig up as a pet.
Providing they are fully vaccinated; pigs can make fantastic pets. That’s because they don’t shed in the same way cats and dogs do. What’s more, pigs are hairy, not furry – and therefore won’t cause any allergic reactions.
15. Pigs are ecologically important.
The role of a pig is hugely important in our global ecosystem. That’s because they help to dig up and redistribute soil, and therefore giving plants new places to disperse and grow.
16. There’s only one place you won’t find a pig.
You’ll likely find a pig on every single continent – except, of course, for Antarctica. The moment the lesser-spotted Antarctica pig is discovered, we’ll update this list!
17. We’ve been looking after pigs for centuries.
Pigs are one of the oldest domesticated animals. It’s been recorded that pigs were domesticated over 6,000 years ago.
18. There are many, many different types of pig out there.
There are quite literally hundreds of different varieties of domesticated pigs. Do you have a favourite?
19. There are many different pig grouping nouns.
A group of young pigs is called a litter. But an older group of pigs can collectively be called many things: A drift, herd, drove, parcel, sounder or team.
20. Pigs break a LOT of things.
In the United States, feral pigs cause more than $1 billion worth of damage a year! They are known to trample crops and push other wildlife out of their habitat. The impact that these pigs have on agricultural land is significant.
21. There are more Pigs in Denmark than people!
The population of humans in Denmark is fewer than their population of pigs. This is primarily due to their lucrative meat industry, as they have over 5,000 pig farms producing more than 28 million pigs each year.
22. Are pigs gamers?
In the 1990s, there was a study conducted around pigs and their aptitude for video games. It demonstrated that pigs were surprisingly smart and performed better with a joystick than a Jack Russell terrier and chimpanzees.
23. Some pigs are massive.
A pig named Big Bill holds the record for being the biggest pig ever. In 1933, this pig from Poland weighed a staggering 2,552 pounds (1157 kg) according to the Guinness World Records.
24. Pigs generally don’t see very well.
Pigs have small eyes and very poor eyesight.
25. …But a pig can taste a LOT!
While a human has only around 9,000 taste buds, a pig has an estimated 15,000.
26. A Pig’s breathing apparatus is fairly small.
Pigs have small lungs when compared to the size of their body.
27. We depend on pigs in many ways.
Besides meat, products from pigs range from cosmetics to weed killers.
28. Pigs grow up fast!
A baby pig weighs around 3.5 pounds at birth. However, in just seven days, it can double in size.
29. Pigs’ hearts can save our own.
The heart valves of pigs are used to make heart valves for humans. These valves tend to last around 15 years and do not normally require anti-clotting drugs according to Harvard Health Publishing.
30. We use pigs for hunting.
Pigs have a great sense of smell, and in Europe and North America are used to find truffles – a delicious fungi that grows buried in ancient woodlands.
Do you know any fun facts about pigs? Share them in the comments below!
Are you fascinated with farm animals? Check out these interesting facts about sheep