Fun Facts to Know About Pigs
Are you fascinated by pigs? If so, you are not alone. Pigs are intelligent and unique animals that garner a lot of interest from their human friends. About 1.5 billion pigs are processed every year for their meat, but due to their endearing personalities, more and more are being kept as pets on both the farm and in the home as well.
What are some interesting facts about pigs? Listed in this post are 50 interesting facts about pigs that you will find fascinating – facts about pig behavior, a pig’s superior intelligence, feral pigs, and more.
Read on to learn 50 of the most interesting facts about pigs!
Interesting Facts About Pig Intelligence
Pigs are one of the smartest animals in the world, and have been known to rival chimpanzees in some cognitive tests. Pigs are highly trainable, and pick up new information so quickly that piglets have been known to learn their names within the first 2 weeks of age. Pigs also have an excellent memory. Here are 7 interesting facts about pig intelligence:
- Pigs are known to be of a similar level of intelligence as a 3 year old child, with their intelligence only surpassed in the animal kingdom by the dolphin, ape, and elephant.
- Speaking of intelligence, pigs can recognize themselves in a mirror. This may not sound like much, but even the smartest dog does not understand reflections.
- Researchers found that pigs outperform chimpanzees in video games using joysticks. Sounds like a fun study, doesn’t it?
- Being highly intelligent, pigs can follow your eye movements or finger pointing to determine what it is you are paying attention to.
- Pigs are very social animals and develop preferences for specific herd mates, sleeping next to and spending time with their “friends.”
- Wild pigs have been shown to use tools while building their nests – using sticks and large bark as “shovels.”
- Pigs have long memories and are curious animals, preferring “new” toys over toys they are already familiar with.
Interesting Facts About Pig Senses
While pigs have poor eyesight compared to humans, they have excellent senses of smell, hearing, and taste. Here are 6 interesting facts about pig senses:
- Pigs have a sense of smell that is 2,000 times stronger than that of a human’s.
- Pigs can distinguish the vocalizations of their individual herd members.
- Pigs have approximately 15,000 taste buds. For comparison, humans have around 9,000.
- Because of their superior sense of smell, pigs are used by humans to hunt for truffles in North America (truffles referring to mushrooms, not chocolate).
- Pigs have been used to combat war elephants in history. Pigs don’t pose a physical threat to elephants, of course, but their loud shrieks would scare them away.
- Pigs have also been used by police forces to sniff out drugs, and by militaries to sniff out land mines.
Interesting Facts About Pig Behavior
Pigs are herd animals with a unique social structure. You can spend hours watching how your pigs interact throughout the day – while sleeping, rooting, and playing with one another. Below are 8 interesting facts about pig behavior:
- Pigs are talkative with one another, communicating through squeals and grunts. There have been over 20 distinct vocalizations that researchers have discovered pigs using.
- While not known for being especially noisy, a pig will certainly let you know when they are unhappy. Pig squeals can reach up to 115 decibels – louder than a jet engine. (To learn whether your pig is happy or not, check out my article How To Tell If a Pig Is Happy: Top Signs To Look For.)
- Pigs like to be clean. They will not soil their sleeping area if given the chance to move around, even as day-old piglets.
- Pigs have four toes on each foot, but they only walk on the two middle toes. This gives them the appearance of walking on tip-toes.
- Most breeds of pigs will farrow (birth) 8-12 piglets at a time. The Meishan breed, however, can regularly farrow up to 20 piglets at a time.
- The gestation period of a pig is 3 months + 3 weeks + 3 days.
- Pigs are not slow – they can run at speeds of up to 11 miles per hour. However, they don’t run in straight lines (presenting a challenge during pig races).
- Pigs are omnivores and will eat almost anything, including plants, flowers, mushrooms, bugs, and even carrion.
Interesting Facts About Pig Health
Below you will find 11 interesting facts about pig health, their biology, and their unique physical needs.
- There are over 24 bacterial and parasitic diseases that you can contract from pigs.
- Pig organs are so similar to human organs that surgeons use pig heart valves in human patients.
- Pig skin is similar to humans, and is used in grafts for human burn victims.
- Speaking of the similarities between pig skin and human skin, tattoo artists have been known to practice their skills on pigs.
- Have you ever used the term “sweating like a pig”? Pigs don’t actually have the ability to sweat, which is why they use their environment (i.e. mud) to stay cool.
- White, or “pink”, pigs have a sparse amount of hair and need ready access to shade to avoid sunburns.
- Pigs have an average lifespan of around 15 years. The oldest pig on record currently lives in Illinois, and is 24 years old.
- A mature pig can drink up to 14 gallons of water every day.
- Sows (female pigs) of some breeds can conceive at only 3 months of age.
- Pigs are not the most efficient eaters of the livestock world. To gain just one pound of weight, pigs need to eat three pounds of food.
- Some breeds of pigs are susceptible to the genetic condition PSS (Porcine Stress Syndrome), making them more vulnerable to stress. The popular Hampshire and Pietrain breeds are at risk of carrying this gene, and it is wise to order a genetic test before breeding them.
Interesting Facts About Feral Pigs
When we talk about pigs, most of us are referring to domesticated farm pigs. Domestic pigs are not the only swine roaming our Earth, though, with feral pigs populating many areas of the world and true wild pig herds in Eurasia as well. Here are 5 interesting facts about feral and wild pigs.
- While feral pigs can (and do) live just about anywhere, true wild pigs are native to parts of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. What is the difference? Feral pigs have domesticated ancestors but live in the wild. The ancestors of wild pigs have never been domesticated, making them truly wild.
- Feral pigs are so adaptable to a variety of environments, they are considered pests in some areas because of their destructive tendencies.
- It is estimated that feral pigs cause one billion dollars in damage annually in the United States alone.
- Pigs can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
- Wild sows (female pigs) will take in orphan piglets and raise them as their own.
Interesting Facts About Pig Farms
More pork is eaten around the world than meat from any other animal. Pigs account for a huge segment of the agriculture industry. Below are 7 interesting facts about the pork industry.
- While pigs are hygienic animals and like to be clean, the composition of their manure makes them the stinkiest of farm animals to raise – researchers have determined that pig farms are smellier than both dairy farms and poultry farms. To learn more about managing pig odor, visit my article Do Pigs Smell Bad? Pig Odor Guide.
- Over half of the world’s 800 million domestic pigs reside in China.
- Pigs outnumber humans in the country of Denmark.
- Over 2 billion pounds of bacon are produced in the United States each year.
- Pork is the most consumed animal product in the world, accounting for about 40% of consumed meat.
- Most domesticated pigs are slaughtered before the age of 6 months.
- Pigs were first domesticated in Asia around 9,000 years ago, making them one of the first animals to become domesticated by humans.
More Interesting Facts About Pigs
The interesting facts don’t stop there. Below you will find 6 more interesting facts about these fascinating animals.
- Pigs can swim, and enjoy doing so. There is an island in the Bahamas where tourists can swim with feral pigs.
- Humans have several different names for groups of pigs – you may hear the terms sounder, team, drift, drove, herd, or parcel to describe a group of pigs.
- The largest pig on record lived in Poland and reached a staggering 2,500 pounds.
- A male pig named Khanzir lives at the Kabul Zoo in Afghanistan. Khanzir is the only pig that lives in the country.
- There are several breeds of domestic pigs, with a variety of sizes and markings. Depending on the breed, pigs can weigh as little as 100 pounds and as much as 900 pounds.
- Pigs can have either erect ears or floppy ears. Breeds ending in “-shire” will have erect ears.
Aren’t Pigs Interesting?
As you can see, there is a wealth of interesting facts that can be touted about our pig friends. Pigs are fascinating animals and while they are integral to the agriculture industry, they also make great pets (if you have the room for them).
Are you interested in getting pigs? Before you do, be sure to check out my article Top Pros and Cons of Owning and Raising Pigs.