17 Surprising Pig Facts

You’ve heard the old saying before: familiarity breeds contempt. When it comes to the most common livestock species, maybe familiarity doesn’t breed contempt but when you work with the same animals day in and day out they can just sort of become part of the background.

Kunekune Pigs
Kunekune Pigs

They can lose that sense of wonder that makes them so interesting when we are children…

Well, concerning pigs, I’m here to tell you that they are some of the most interesting animals around and that’s no joke.

Pigs almost have a secret life that most people are just not aware of, and in this article I’ll be bringing it to light with 17 interesting pig facts.

1. Pigs Can See the Sky

One old urban legend about pigs states that they cannot look up, and that they might not even know the sky exists.

That’s malarkey, of course, but it is true that pigs can’t look up very far. Nonetheless, they can see the sky!

Pigs can tilt their head up around 40 degrees, and if they need to see further up they will move their eyes up or sit back on their bottoms to “pitch” their head upward even farther.

Even so, pigs don’t care what is in the sky: they are focused on the ground where their food is. That’s why they always seem to have their noses to the ground!

2. Pigs are Highly Social Animals

Pigs are not known for their social nature, but it is true that they form tight-knit bonds with other members of their herd, and will establish intricate hierarchies.

They communicate with each other, and use body language and other cues to convey information.

In fact, research suggests pigs are capable of complex social cognition. They’ve been observed engaging in cooperative behaviors and demonstrating empathy towards other pigs and people in distress.

Some studies have even suggested that pigs may be able to recognize themselves in mirrors, a trait that is typically associated only with highly intelligent animals.

Pretty remarkable for what most people consider to be dumb brutes!

3. Pigs Have a Potent Bite

Despite their often-cute appearance, pigs, including domestic ones, can generate immense bite forces – forces that can cause serious harm!

Pigs can have large, sharp teeth or tusks that are capable of inflicting deep puncture wounds combined with powerful jaw muscles that can exert a tremendous amount of pressure; enough to crack and crush bone!

While domesticated pigs are typically not aggressive towards humans, it’s essential to approach them with caution and respect, and never, ever let your guard down around larger ones.

If a pig feels threatened or cornered, hungry, or is protecting its young it may lash out and bite, potentially causing serious injury.

4. Pigs are Quite Intelligent

Pigs are stereotyped as dumb, lumbering, filthy creatures but nothing could be further from the truth. Behind those beady eyes are surprisingly sharp intellects.

Pigs have cognitive abilities that exceed those of most dogs, and rival even smarter animals like dolphins and even some primates.

They have been shown to be capable of learning complex tasks, such as solving puzzles and even playing video games!

One famous example shows four pigs who were trained to play a simple video game using a joystick for a food reward.

Over time, the pigs became quite adept at the game and even kept playing after the food ran out – on the basis of only receiving encouragement from the people running the test!

This cognitive ability plays a vital role in the wild for their survival and helps them navigate their complex social interactions…

5. Pigs Have Long Lives

Pigs are ordinarily not long-lived animals, but if not slaughtered and treated with care, they will enjoy a lifespan of around 15-20 years.

However, some have been known to live well beyond their 20s with proper care and nutrition.

If you decide to get a pet pig, you’ll happy to know that you can spend a big part of your lives together.

Interestingly, the oldest pig on record was a pig named Baby Jane, who lived to be an astounding 23 years and 77 days old as of the last Guinness Book verification in 2021.

6. Pigs are Surprisingly Tidy and Clean

Contrary to popular belief, pigs are actually quite tidy and clean animals.

In fact, they are known to be fastidious about keeping their living spaces clean by designating specific areas for urination and defecation that well apart from eating and sleeping spots.

So long as pigs have enough space, this will help to keep them mentally and physically healthy, and you should know that they only wallow in the mud to get cool.

7. Pigs Have Good Memories

Pigs have amazingly excellent memories for animals, and are capable of recalling specific details about their environment and experiences.

They use this memory to locate food and avoid predators by recognizing danger areas and points of vulnerability, as well as to navigate the sometimes complex social interactions with other pigs and the people that take care of them.

And pigs can remember faces: lots of them! Though their vision is not so great, they can visually remember humans and other pigs, and can ID through other sensory cues besides.

Whether you treat your pigs well or poorly, know that they will remember your face and act accordingly!

8. Pigs Can Find Their Way Home

Pigs have a remarkable sense of direction, and are capable of finding their way home most times even if they’ve been transported to unfamiliar locations or wandered away for whatever reason. You might say they are homing pigs!

This ability is due in part to their highly developed sense of smell, which allows them to recognize familiar scents over shockingly long distances.

There are plenty of anecdotes floating around of pigs escaping from their enclosures or being separated from their homes due to disaster and finding their way back home on their own.

Imagine being the owner of such a pig and the relief you’d feel watching your lost pig just come trotting back!

9. Pigs Walk on Tiptoes

Pigs have an interesting way of walking: they actually walk on their tiptoes!

This is due to the structure of their feet, which include two functional toes that contact the surface and two smaller toes to the rear of the foot that don’t touch the ground normally.

This unique foot structure gives pigs added stability and mobility, allowing them to run quickly and change direction with ease.

However, it also means that pigs are susceptible to foot and leg injuries, particularly if they’re kept on very hard or uneven surfaces for long periods.

10. Pigs Have a Super Sense of Smell

Pigs are already well-known for their keen sense of smell, which is estimated to be at least 2,000 times better than that of humans.

They use this powerful sense to locate food, naturally, and also avoid predators and navigate their environment.

They also rely on scent cues to identify who’s who among pigs and people when they cannot see too well.

Pigs have such super sniffers that pigs have been trained to use their sense of smell for a variety of tasks, including detecting truffles, finding lost objects, and even detecting certain diseases in humans. Truly amazing stuff!

11. Pigs are Capable Swimmers

Pigs don’t, as some have asserted, sink like a stone in water. Pigs are actually capable swimmers and some really seem to enjoy spending time in the water.

They are naturally buoyant, and can paddle with relative ease especially since the water takes most of the weight off of their strong physiques, making them adept at swimming in rivers, lakes, and even the ocean!

Swimming Pigs Rule This Tropical Island | National Geographic

However, it’s essential to ensure that pigs have supervision before allowing them to swim in any body of water, as they can still become exhausted and drown.

12. Piglets are Born with Fangs

When piglets are born, they have a set of needle-like teeth known as “milk teeth” or “needle teeth.”

These teeth are sharp and pointy, similar in appearance to fangs, and are used for suckling, but not in the way you might think: they use them to fight off other piglets for the best nipple!

Since milk teeth can easily hurt the sow and injure or kill each other while nursing, many farmers choose to clip or file down the piglets’ teeth shortly after birth to prevent these injuries and ensure the health and safety of the litter.

13. Pigs Eat a Varied Diet

Pigs are omnivores and that means they will eat just about anything they can get their snouts on.

Their diet includes grains, grasses, fruits, vegetables, insects, and even small animals like rodents and snakes.

Domestic pigs are typically fed a balanced diet of commercial feed and supplements to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients for good health.

However, free-range or feral pigs may forage for food on their own and have a more varied diet.

14. Pigs are Quite Quick

Pigs seem to be fat, lazy and sluggish most of the time, but don’t be fooled. Despite their reputation for being slow and sluggish, pigs are actually quite fast and agile animals.

They can run at speeds of up to 11 miles per hour (17 kilometers per hour), and are capable of changing direction quickly to avoid obstacles or chase down perceived threats – like you, maybe!

Additionally, pigs are surprisingly decent jumpers and can easily clear low fences or other small barriers.

This ability is due in part to their powerful hind legs, which give them an impressive amount of power. You’ll need to move quick if you want to escape a pursuing pig.

15. No One Knows Why Domestic Pigs Have Curly Tails

One of the most distinctive features of domestic pigs is their curly tails, but no one knows for sure why they have this unique trait, though we do know genetics lead to various lines keeping it.

Some theories suggest that curly tails help pigs keep cool by allowing air to circulate around their hindquarters, while others believe that the curl helps pigs communicate with each other.

Regardless of the reason, curly tails are a defining characteristic of domestic pigs and are often used in illustrations and cartoons to depict the animals.

16. Pigs Don’t Sweat

Pigs, like most mammals, don’t have sweat glands like humans do and instead rely on other methods to regulate their body temperature.

One way they do this is by rolling around in mud or water, which cools their skin through evaporation.

Additionally, pigs will pant or breathe heavily when they’re overheated, increasing the airflow over their skin to dissipate heat.

These natural cooling mechanisms are essential for pigs living in hot climates, as they help prevent the animal from overheating and suffering heat stroke.

17. Pigs are Excellent Communicators

Pigs, as we learned, are highly social animals, but you might be even more surprised to learn just how intricate their communication really is.

They use a range of vocalizations, such as grunts, squeals, and growls to convey information and express their emotions.

Additionally, pigs use obvious and subtle body language to communicate, such as ear movements, tail wagging, and posture.

For example, a pig that’s feeling threatened or aggressive may hold its head up high and puff out its chest, while a relaxed pig may have droopy ears and a low tail.

Studies have also shown that pigs have individual “voices” that are recognizable to other pigs in their herd, allowing them to identify specific individuals and communicate more effectively.

This complex system of communication helps pigs form strong social bonds and navigate their complex social hierarchy.

pig facts pinterest

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *