What is a pig?
Pig is an animal that is in the genus Sus within the family Suidae. Pig is a common term used for domestic pigs, common Eurasian wild boar, and other species. They are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa.
The moment someone mentions ‘pig,’ most people picture a gluttonous, dull, dirty animal. But little do these people know that they are one of the most versatile animals that humans domesticated. They are really amazing animals. We should know at least something about them. Without further ado, let us begin with our pig facts. Let us begin…
Before we start pig facts, let us learn about the scientific classification of pigs.
Pig Facts 1-9
1. Pigs have a large head with a long and hard snout. The snout is used as a sense organ and a tool to dig the Earth up to find food.
2. Each foot has four hoofed toes. The two central toes are larger and bear most of the pig’s weight.
3. Pigs have 44 teeth. The rear teeth are used for crushing food. Male pigs’ canines form tusks that continuously grow and are sharpened by being ground against each other.
4. They are one of the most numerous large mammals present on the planet. At any given point in time, the pig population all over the world is around a billion!
5. Humans introduced pigs (either domestic or wild ones) into North America, South America, and Australia.
6. There are several species of pigs like wild boars, warty pigs, and bearded pigs.
7. Thanks to their foraging, they can survive in any productive habitat, given there is sufficient water to sustain large mammals like pigs.
8. Pigs are omnivores meaning they eat both plants and animals. They behave as foraging animals in the wild – mostly eating leaves, fruits, flowers, roots, fish, and insects.
9. As livestock, they are mostly fed soybean and cornmeal with vitamins and minerals.
Pig Facts 10-18
10. if you are raising pigs as pets, you can give them different raw vegetables or mini pig pellet food.
11. Domesticated pigs are mostly raised as either pet or as livestock. Because of their excellent sense of smell, they are used to find truffles in various European countries.
12. Pigs are used for their meat called pork, hair called bristles, and leather. The bristles were commonly used in paintbrushes.
13. The use of the bristles (pig’s hair) was so common that the Australian government had to launch Operation Pig Bristle in 1946. Post-WWII, the construction of houses boomed in Australia, and this caused a shortage of paintbrushes.
14. What did the Australian government do? The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) flew 28 short tons of bristles from China!
15. Pigs are also used in biomedical research and for drug testing. The skin of humans and pigs is similar, and hence pig’s skin is used in preclinical studies.
16. Genetic advances in healthcare provided domestic pigs a way to become xenotransplantation (transplantation of cells, tissues, organs from one species to the other species) candidates for humans.
17. Pigs are extremely intelligent. They are smarter than three-year-old babies, dogs, and even some primates. They can learn their names when they are two to three weeks old. They respond and learn tricks way better than dogs.
18. They are also social animals. They form very close bonds and love being in close contact and staying with the animals/people they love.
Pig Facts 19-27
19. Contrary to our opinion, pigs, are very neat. The toilet area of pigs is far away from the place where they eat and stay. Even piglets leave the nest to pee or poop within hours of their birth.
20. They are very peaceful. The only time pigs would attack you is if you provoke them, which comes naturally to every species.
21. Pigs in the wild help in aerating the soil so that new plants can grow easily. They also help in dispersing the seeds of fruit plants. They play a very vital role in maintaining the ecosystem.
22. A pig named Pru pulled her pet parent out of a muddy bog. Another pig, Priscilla, saved a small boy from drowning.
23. Pork is widely eaten in almost every country of the world.
25. Pigs don’t sweat efficiently. They have sweat glands, but they don’t work properly. This is the reason why pigs roll in the mud to cool themselves off. It means that they can bear cold weather better than hot weather.
26. An ecologist, Meredith Root-Bernstein, observed that warty pigs used bark scraps and sticks to build nests. They build nests every six months when they are expecting piglets.
27. Two different cultures cultivated pigs in two different timeframes. Settlers of present-day Turkey domesticated wild boars around 10,000 years ago. Settlers of China’s Mekong Valley also domesticated wild pigs around 8,000 years ago.
Pig Facts 28-36
28. Other names of pigs are hogs and swine. Male pigs are called boars, and female pigs are called sows. Group of pigs is called drift or drove.
29. Sows give birth to piglets. The gestation period is 114 days. They nurse the piglets for three to five weeks. The piglets that are weaned are called shoats. The litter size is six to ten.
30. Piglets weigh 2.5 pounds or 1.1 kilograms when they are born. Their weight doubles in just one week.
31. Adult pigs weigh anywhere between 300 and 700 pounds or 140 and 300 kilograms. They are around 180 centimeters long. However, the weight and height are different for different species.
32. Pork makes up 40% of all meat animal protein consumed worldwide. The next most consumed one is poultry, and then comes beef.
33. The screams of pigs can reach up to 130 decibels and are louder than jet engines (120 decibels).
34. They can run at a speed of 11 miles per hour.
35. supposedly, Alexander the Great used pigs to counter elephants as elephants were scared of the loud squeals of pigs. In modern wars, pigs were used to identify the sources of land mines.
36. They have excellent memories. They can remember and recognize things and people for years!
Pig Facts 37-45
37. They use grunts to communicate with each other. The grunts differ with every pig. These grunts convey their wellbeing to a great extent.
38. Newborn piglets quickly learn to respond to their mother’s voices. According to research, each piglet has a specific teat and suckles only from that particular teat.
39. They love to play games, get massages, scratch themselves on trees and relax listening to music. According to research in the 1990s at Penn State, pigs can learn to play video games using a joystick quicker and better than a Jack Russell terrier and chimpanzees.
40. Wild pigs cause damages worth $1.5 billion a year in the United States of America. They damage crops, push out other wildlife, and cause many diseases.
41. Denmark has more pigs than people. Each year 5000 pig farms of Denmark produce 28 million pigs (out of which 20 million are slaughtered). The human population is around 5 million to 6 million.
42. In the 13th to 15th centuries, people saved money in jars made up of an orange-colored clay called ‘pygg.’ In the 19th century, manufacturers started molding the jars into the shape of pigs. Within no time, piggy banks became famous.
43. Miss Piggy, the romantic interest of Kermit the Frog, is a star in her own right. But she was originally named Piggy Lee after a famous jazz singer Peggy Lee.
44. Kama, the Surfing Pig, goes on surfing with his pet parent, Kai Holt. He even taught his kid, Kama 2, how to surf!
45. Their lifespan is around 10 to 25 years.