Trivia and Information on Pigs and Swine
Pigs are also known as hogs, or swine, they were domesticated from wild boars over 8,000 years ago. They have been kept mostly as a livestock animal for food although in recent years they have been considered to be good pets.
Pigs are as intelligent as dogs, and can even be trained. They have a very good sense of smell and have been used to hunt truffles, a highly prized fungus. Their hair has been used for making brushes.
For every 4 humans there is one pig. Meaning we have nearly 2 billion pigs on the earth.
Piglet – A baby pig
Gilt – A female pig who has not had piglets
Sow – A female pig who has had piglets
Boar – A male pig
©photo by my husband, piglets at auction
Other Facts on Pigs
The pig is the last animal on the Chinese zodiac.
Pigs are omnivores, as they eat both plants and animals. They can be raised like sheep – grazing on pasture grass, but are usually not kept in this way. In the wild they will usually eat roots and plants but will also eat eggs or other animals they are able to catch. Pigs were one of the introduced species that contributed to the demise of the Dodo bird.
For a period in time, in both India, and China, pigs were used in place of septic systems; they were fed human waste. Today they are often fed table scraps and other leftovers.
Although people often think of pigs as being a dirty animal this is untrue. Pigs will not urinate or defecate near their food, or sleeping area. Even young piglets will leave their nest to relieve themselves.
Pigs do not have sweat glands, nor can they pant. They are not very tolerant of heat and must roll in mud to cool themselves.
Some cultures consider pigs “unclean” and will not eat them. This might go back to the fact that pigs have so much in common with humans that they can easily spread diseases to humans through undercooked meat.
Pigs are often used in science as they are very similar to humans; fetal pigs develop much the same as a human fetus. Pig hearts and human hearts are very similar – pig hearts have been used as transplants for human hearts.
Pigs can learn their names, as pets they walk well on a leash and harness.
Pigs do not like to be picked up, and will often squeal.
There are over 200 breeds of domestic pig.
The biggest pigs have weighed over 1,900 pounds (900 kg), and the world record holder weighed 2,552 pounds (1,157kg) but was destroyed when he broke a leg.
In recent years there has been a trend to market stunted pigs as teacup pigs or miniatures. Buyers are unaware that the pigs will grow, although they do grow slowly. These stunted animals often develop inner problems such as liver shunts, and as their internal organs eventually grow faster than their skeletal system they often have a lot of other serious health problems.
Some pigs have more hair than others, and the ones with little hair are prone to sunburn.
Gilts are old enough to breed around 5 months of age, but it is best to wait until they are six to eight months of age.
Pigs are pregnant for 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days (111 days). They often have 8 to 12 piglets.
The average lifespan of a pig is 10 to 12 years.