All About the Calf

The calf is a term for a baby cow.

While all baby cows are considered calves, there are different types of this animal, each with its own set of traits.

What You Should Know

Among baby cows, there are three main types of calves. There are dairy, beef, and veal calves.

The dairy calf stays with its mother to nurse for a short time. Most farmers choose to wean it and move it to the pasture within a few weeks. These calves eat grass by two to four weeks old. Beef calves tend to weigh more at birth. They will also drink up to a gallon of milk per day.

By the time they are six to ten months old, they are weaned. By this time, they typically weigh up to 450 pounds. Females are usually kept for future breeding while the males are sent to auction or slaughtered. The veal calves are Holstein cows. The females are kept for milk production while the males are sold as veal. They are usually killed between birth and three weeks old.

What Sound Do They Make?

Calves will communicate with their mothers through mooing noises. This is how they get to know one another. There isn’t much difference between the sound of a calf and the sound of a full-size cow.

You can listen to some of the sounds that baby calves make on this audio site.

Group Characteristics

Once the baby cow is born, it builds a strong bond to the mother. Cows even celebrate when a baby is born. They protect the mother and newborn to ensure both animals are safe and warm. Like most mammals, the mother cow carries the baby in her womb before birth. The gestation period lasts for nine months, but female calves typically take longer than the male.

Calves are born with teeth, but they are soft and small. That’s why the mother cow chews food before giving it to the baby.

How Many Are There?

There is no shortage of cows in the world. The World Atlas estimates over a billion cows around the globe. There aren’t a lot of threats to the calf, but they might suffer from some congenital abnormalities. The Akabane virus is one that affects the calf, primarily in the tropical and temperate regions of the world.

Pop Culture

The cow is used often in animation and as a mascot. It’s long been the symbol for dairy products, but the calf is rarely ever used. In some movies, you might find the calf as a supporting character, but rarely in a feature role. Some films that feature cows include Barnyard, Home on the Range and Annabelle’s Wish.

For businesses or as a logo, famous cows include Elsie the Borden Cow, The Laughing Cow, and the Turkey Hill Cow.

Interesting Facts

Most cows only birth one cow a year. Twins do occur about 10% of the time. There are more difficulties when twin calves are born. When one of the twins is a heifer and other a bull, in over 90% of the times, the heifer will be sterile.

Cows make more milk than the calf ever needs. On average, a mother cow will produce between five and 12 gallons of milk each day.

Newborn calves see, stand and walk immediately after birth.

The term calf is used to describe other animals. Other bovid species include the water buffalo, yak and bison. Calves also refer to the young of elephants, hippopotamuses, deer, dolphins, camels, giraffes and elk.

Pauline was the last cow to live at the White House. She belonged to President Taft.

All About Stallions

A stallion is an adult, uncastrated male horse.

A lot of young people wish to own a stallion, but don’t often understand this isn’t usually a tame horse.

Owning one requires more care and maintenance than having a regular horse. It also takes a lot of patience to ride one, which is why stallions aren’t often found as familiar childhood companions.

What You Should Know

A male horse comes into the world as a colt. When he reaches three years old, he is a stallion, although he might breed sooner. If he has his testicles surgically removed (gelded) he is known as a Gelding and can live among other horses. Otherwise, the stallion horse should be kept in an area by itself.

The main purpose of the stallion is to breed with the female horses. Because of this, most owners understand they will require more work and effort to deal with.

What Sound Do They Make?

The stallion makes all of the typical horse sounds, including a neigh and knicker. You can hear numerous horse sounds, including some from stallions with these audio clips.

Group Characteristics

Stallions should never be with other horses because they breed indiscriminately. They have also been known to attack the geldings. Without the proper fencing, it’s possible to end up with more horses than planned after unexpected breeding, especially since stallions will breed up to two or three times per day.

The majority of male horses are born with the ability to breed. Still, many worry about overpopulation and choose to inhibit their ability. In addition, horses born with bad temperaments or genetic defects are often stopped from breeding.

Older stallions are often gelded and put with the general horse population once their breeding purposes are complete. To board a stallion often costs more money because of the additional effort and time it takes to care for them.

How Many are There?

While some horse breeds are endangered, the majority of them are thriving. It’s estimated that America has more than nine million horses at any given time. This includes commercial and recreational horses. The United States has more horses than any other country but is followed closely by Mexico and China.

Pop Culture

The list of available horse movies is endless, but some stand out with a lead stallion. The Black Stallion is a book and film that inspires many. It’s about Alec, who is stranded on an island with an Arabian stallion. These two become friends and the story follows their rescue and ultimate racing adventure. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is an animated tale of a wild stallion that travels along the western frontier. Another popular option is The Derby Stallion. This starred Zac Efron when he was younger as a teenager with a passion for horses.

Interesting Facts

The term stallion first started back when Henry VII was a king. He passed laws regarding the exporting and breeding of horses, in hopes to improve British stock. It was forbidden at the time to allow the uncastrated horses loose in a field.

Every breed of horse has stallions. It is a term used for any mature male horse that can reproduce, no matter what breed it is. Because of this, stallions aren’t just black in color, as commonly thought. Any horse color can become a stallion.

The stallion follows a hierarchy. If there is more than one together, there will be a clear leader. Sometimes, there is a battle over the leadership position between males. If females are present, she determines which way the herd travels and ensures that the stragglers make their way with the pack.

All About Bulls

A bull is a male cow that has not been castrated. It’s muscular and more aggressive than the female cow.

The bull plays a significant role in dairy farming and beef ranching. Plus, bulls play a big part in today’s culture through various sports and activities.

What You Should Know

A cow is a female counterpart to the bull. In North America, the term is also used for a young bull, while Australians use it to define a draught animal. The word bull is also used for other bovine males, including water buffalo and bison.

Bulls eat alfalfa hay and other food that is high in protein. They have a four-compartment stomach, just like the cow. They swallow all of their food whole and then regurgitate it for chewing. They live for about 20 to 25 years.

The bull prefers to live alone, other than when it is reproducing. They don’t like to compete for food and prefer to live a solitary life.

What Sound Do They Make?

The cow has an easily recognizable moo, but the bull adds an angry bellow to it. You can hear some of the sounds with this page of clips.

Group Characteristics

Bulls are ready to breed by seven months old. The bull will mate will multiple cows each year. Some ranches use on average two bulls per 100 cows.

If the bull isn’t present when the cow is ready to breed, it will wait up to another 21 days to reproduce. That’s why many farmers watch carefully for signs that reproduction is ideal; otherwise, they miss the opportunity to create offspring.

How Many are There?

Of all the cow population in the world, India has the largest inventory. They are followed by Brazil and China. The United States has less than ten percent of the world’s cattle.

Pop Culture

The bull might be best known as the inspiration behind the NBA Chicago Bulls team. Aside from sports and reproducing they are also popular for bullfighting and riding. You will find numerous festivals including the bulls, such as the Running of the Bulls. Even bull-leaping is a sport.

As far as film goes, one of the most popular bulls is Ferdinand. He was the main character in the animated film that was meek and didn’t want to be involved in bullfighting but was pressured by others to partake in the sport.

Interesting Facts

Most people assume that the bull is angered by the color red, but this is simply untrue. In fact, bulls are red-green color blind, just like most other cattle. The actions occurring in bullfighting simply happen because of the movement from the matador’s cape, not the color. This is what provokes the animal to anger.

Bulls feature more muscle than cows. They also have thicker bones and larger feet. This is what allows them to dominate a herd. The bull’s hair is shorter on its body, but the head features a curly mane where the hair is woolly. The bull might measure the same height as a cow, but because of the extra muscle, it will weigh much more.

Many activities involving the bull are considered to be inhumane. Bullfighting is one that sparks outrage from animal welfare advocates. They claim that the sport forces the bulls to suffer a slow and painful death. There have also been numerous protests against rodeos. The argument is that rodeos cause undue stress, injury, and death to these animals. Also, the same activists are against the Running of the Bulls. This is another activity that might cause additional injuries and stress to the bulls.

All About Foals

A foal is a term used for an equine up to a year old. Male foals are called a colt while the female is referred to as a filly.

Many people confuse the term foal with a pony, but a pony is simply a small horse that will never grow to be any larger.

What You Should Know

The foal is a horse under the age of one. It’s too young to be ridden and can’t be used for work. They look different than a full-size horse because of their smaller bodies and long legs. Their heads also exhibit characteristics of youth and are slender.

Foals can walk and trot shortly after birth, though they might seem weak-kneed at first. During the first week of its life, the foal only nurses. After then it might taste some grass.

What Sound Do They Make?

A foal neighs and makes the same noises that a full-size horse does. The mother and foal communicate without sounds and form a close bond.

If you enjoy listening to horse sounds, there are pages of them available at this site:

Group Characteristics

The mare carries the foal for about 11 months, but that varies by a few weeks. The foal gets up and starts nursing within two hours of birth. Often, the filly gets up faster than the colt. Within 24 hours, most foals are galloping.

The majority of foals are born during the night and birth occurs fast. In captivity, many owners report taking a bathroom break or getting a drink only to find the foal waiting when they come back. In the wild, this quick birth helps protect the newborn from predators.

Foals can be weaned by three months, but it’s generally expected that they stay with the mother longer. If the foal begins growing too fast, it’s wise to slow the weaning down. Otherwise, they start to experience trouble with their joints.

How Many are There?

2 million people own horses. As of 2016, there were more than 9 million horses in the United States alone. Also, 4.6 million people are involved with horses as either an owner, service provider, volunteer or employee.

Pop Culture

The majority of horse movies start by showing the main character as a foal. Then, the story follows them into adulthood. Other than that, there are few films dedicated to telling a story about this young horse. Popular movies such as Black Beauty, Secretariat, and Spirit all have foals as a part of the story line.

Interesting Facts

The foal’s legs don’t grow much larger than they are. They measure about 90% of the total length that they will be when they are full-grown.

Foals require more sleep than an adult horse. This helps them to grow. It will take them several months before they learn the art of sleeping on their feet.

Mares never leave the foal while it is sleeping. It’s a way of protecting her young from danger. If the mare must leave, another mare babysits the sleeping foal. The foal also sleeps much more soundly than an adult horse. Still, if danger arises, the mare knickers to alert the baby. Then, the foal springs to its feet in an instant, much faster than an adult horse can because of its lower bodyweight.

Foals learn about the world around them by tasting, licking and chewing. This is why they are often seen tasting fences and chewing unusual objects. They also learn some skills from the herd. If a foal is born to a tame mare, it usually grows up tame just because it acquires the same habits.

Featured Article

All About Lambs

The lamb is just a baby sheep.

In different parts of the world, it’s classified by various criteria, but it typically refers to a sheep under the age of a year.

What You Should Know

Each country uses the term lamb to describe the sheep at a certain, early stage of life. For example, New Zealand says that any sheep under a year old is a lamb, but Australians require that any sheep without permanent incisors is also a lamb.

When first born, the lamb contains a tail, but this sheds as they grow. Other than that, the lamb is fully developed at birth, but they never grow upper teeth.

Lambs require a large amount of space to graze in. They also want shelter from the elements. Their diet consists of pasture plants and grass. They take a long time to eat and often spend up to seven hours out of each diet grazing.

What Sound Do They Make?

The lamb makes the same sounds does. It is slightly more high-pitched than the sheep because of their voice changing as they grow. Listen to some of the baaings from lambs from these sound clips.

Group Characteristics

Sheep carry the lambs for about five months before giving birth. These lambs weigh five to eight pounds. These babies are at risk for predators and often experience a high mortality rate without good care.

The lamb is fed by its mother and doesn’t wean until between two to three months old. If the lamb is mis-mothered by a farmer or caretaker, it becomes weak and needs further assistance.

How Many are There?

It’s estimated that there are more than one billion sheep in the world. China currently has the largest number of these sheep.

Lambs are vulnerable to diseases including viral contagious ecthyma. This causes a sore mouth with ulcerations and stops the lamb from nursing properly. Without intervention, this lamb will starve to death. Pneumonia also targets lambs as well as diarrhea.

Pop Culture

Sheep are a common feature in animation and kid’s films. In these, you can also find lamb included. For example, in Shaun the Sheep, Timmy is the baby lamb that causes trouble. He became so popular that he also got his own show, Timmy Time.

The most notable example of a lamb in culture is in the well-known nursery rhyme, Mary had a Little Lamb. While this nursery rhyme originates from 1830, it is still recited by children worldwide. This poem is based on Mary Sawyer who kept a pet lamb, which traveled with her to school one day at the suggestion of her brother.

Interesting Facts

Sheep have a high level of intellect, even when they are babies. They can perform simple problem-solving tasks and are often evaluated to be as smart as dogs. They also have exceptional memories. Because of this, they remember humans and other sheep for years after seeing them last.

Sheep also express emotions. They will position their ears, make facial expressions and voice their emotions.

The Ancient Egyptians believed that the sheep was a sacred animal. That’s why they mummified it when it died, just like they did with humans.

The Egyptians weren’t the only people to revere the sheep. It’s an animal present in the Chinese Zodiac. If a person is born in the year of the sheep, it’s assumed that they have gentleness, righteousness, sincerity, and compassion.

The sheep is also a common animal used in the Bible to depict the followers of Jesus. In a common prey vs. predator illustration, the sheep are told to be careful of the wolves.

All About Appenzeller Dogs

The Appenzeller dog is also known as the Appenzeller Sennenhund or Appenzeller Mountain Dog.

It’s one of the rarest of four Swiss Mountain Dogs.

What You Should Know

The first time this breed was mentioned is in a book from 1853. Then, the Appenzeller Sennenhund was listed as a breed in 1898. Eight dogs were then introduced at the Winterthur first International Dog Show. Dr. Albert Heim created the Appenzeller Sennenhund Club in 1906 because of his great concern of Swiss Cattledogs.

This breed is known for herding, pulling carts and guarding. They are active and need lots of exercise to be happy.

Male Appenzeller dogs stand about 20 inches at the shoulder, while the female is slightly smaller. This dog will weigh anywhere from 48 to 55 pounds. They have a heavy body build plus a tri-color coat. This coat is shiny and thick with either brown or black as the prominent color and some white or tan markings.

The undercoat is typically gray, black or brown. Their small eyes are always brown but range from light to dark. Most have white markings on the feet, the tip of the tail, chin, and face. Finally, the Appenzeller has small, triangular ears that hang down against the cheeks.

What Sound Do They Make?

Appenzeller dogs are known for their vigilance to guarding loved ones. When they perceive a threat or they want to announce a visitor, they let off a deep sound. This alarm works against its owners because the Appenzeller sees anything different as a threat, even the neighbor leaving for work.

Group Characteristics

Though an Appenzeller is polite when guests arrive, it is always alert for danger. It’s important to socialize the dog to provide a stable and confident temperament that understands when there’s a real threat. Otherwise, this breed becomes pushy and dominant.

The Appenzeller will live nine to 12 years, on average. The female will have one litter per year. Typically, each litter produces four to six puppies.

How Many are There?

This breed isn’t recognized by the AKC or other major American kennel clubs, but it is registered with international clubs and smaller groups in America. It is the rarest from the Sennenhund canine breeds.

If you need a little more cuteness in your day, you’ll get a kick out of this adorable eight-week-old Appenzeller puppy.

Pop Culture

The Appenzeller isn’t a popular dog breed and hasn’t made it to mainstream media. You won’t find this breed as a common choice for kids movies or TV shows.

Interesting Facts

Sennenhund means dairy farmer’s dog, which makes sense since they were purposed with protecting the cows. They are also known for sacrificing their lives to protect those they watch over. It’s believed that they could be descendants from the Romans cattle dogs, but there’s no proof to back that up.

Because this breed is active and energetic, it’s required that they receive plenty of exercise. They don’t make good city dogs but prefer wide-open spaces where they can run. If they don’t receive any physical activity, they become restless and destructive. The Appenzeller even excels at competitions and outdoor sports where herding skills are vital. Furthermore, this dog prefers colder climates and isn’t fond of higher temperatures.

Because of very careful breeding practices, the Appenzeller is remarkably healthy. This breed doesn’t suffer from any major diseases or defects.

All About the Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is also known as a Queensland Heeler or Blue Heeler.

It’s an alert, pleasant and curious breed related to the Dingo, an Australian wild dog. Many people don’t know the essential facts about one of the oldest dogs in the world.

What You Should Know

The Australian Cattle Dog was first bred in the 19th-century by Australian settlers who needed to herd cattle on the ranch. This hardy dog handles the harsh working conditions and climate of Australia. It was accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1980.

It features a blue color with or without red speckled markings. It has a double coat and muscular statue, built for working hard.

What Sound Do They Make?

The Australian Cattle Dog sounds the alarm quickly. It barks at any unfamiliar sight or sound. That’s why it’s not a good dog to leave in the yard unattended. Some of the species also feature a sharp, high-pitched bark that’s hard to handle.

You can get a small taste of its bark with this homemade YouTube video.

Group Characteristics

The Australian Cattle Dog loves to live with families but works best when the children are raised with the puppy. That’s what allows the dog to become protective and caring toward the children. If not, it can become nippy and start to bite.

On average, the Australian Cattle Dog litter consists of five puppies. This often ranges from one to seven pups at a time.

How Many are There?

The Australian Cattle Dog only became accepted by the AKC in 1980. Since then, it recently hit the 55th spot on the Top Breeds list in 2018. It has remained in or around that spot for the last five years.

Watch a Video

If you want the complete rundown on the Australian Cattle Dog, make sure you check out this documentary from Animal Planet.

You can also learn some of the main differences between two popular herding dogs: the Australian Cattle Dog and Border Collie with this video.

Pop Culture

The Australian Cattle Dog has been in numerous movies. Chico was in The Secret Window as Mort Rainey’s dog. One of these dogs was also featured in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior as Max’s companion.

You will also see an Australian Cattle Dog in Babe, a family film. It was one of the bad dogs that killed sheep. The award-winning Brokeback Mountain showcased a couple of Australian Cattle Dogs which travel with the cowboys during the beginning of the film. If you look in the extended footage, you will find more content containing them.

In Man of Steel, there is also a cattle dog highlighted, but it’s not a large role. You can see it during the midpoint and later in the film.

Interesting Facts

The Australian Cattle Dog is a true survivor. In 2009, a dog named Sophie was on a boat with her family near Queensland, Australia. The dog was thrown off when a wave hit the ship. This pup swam five miles to shore and found itself on St. Bees Island. This island was inhabited by wild horses. Sophie stayed alive by hunting the feral goats on the island. Over time, a ranger found her and reunited her with the family, proving how tough this breed is.

Because these dogs enjoy chewing, owners must be prepared to offer more than the average dog. They will want tough toys and larger bones to keep themselves entertained and satisfied.

A typical Australian Cattle Dog will weigh up to 45 pounds. The average lifespan is between 12 and 13 years old.

All About the Australian Kelpie Dog

The Australian Kelpie Dog is appropriately named since it originated in Australia.

It’s known as a loyal, intelligent and alert family pet that loves to work.

What You Should Know

When sheep numbers increased in Australia, people sought after a solution for herding. In Victoria and New South Wales, properties quickly became larger than two million acres and often hold a quarter of a million sheep. Herding wasn’t practical in such conditions so wire fences were installed so the sheep could run free. A dog was needed to handle the sheep, but it was challenging to find something that could handle the rough terrain, vast distances, dust storms, and excessive heat.

Initially, this breed was imported from Scotland. It features tan and black colors with long hair. These Collie-type styles were the most popular, but there was also a smooth-hair option available.

What Sound Do They Make?

The Australian Kelpie makes a variety of noises to communicate. It’s known to howl for long-range communication. This is helpful for hunting and outdoor work. It also growls to express aggression. If the growl is for play, its tail wags and it moves around rapidly. Sometimes, the Kelpie barks excessively and crosses the line. This is common when it perceives danger or is nervous.

Listen to this Australian Kelpie dog bark on command.

Group Characteristics

The average Australian Kelpie litter size is five puppies. Once the puppies are born, they require a lot of socialization to ensure they get along well with people and children. They prefer to be loyal to one person but can be trained to be a family dog.

How Many are There?

There are no accurate estimates to the Australian Kelpie population. It’s not even recognized as a breed by the AKC. Still, both the Canadian Kennel Club and United Kennel Club have it registered. As far as the US goes, the North American Australian Kelpie Registry helps to promote the interests of this breed.

Watch a Video

In this first video, you can learn about all the traits and characteristics of an Australian Kelpie dog.

This second video helps to explain the differences between the Australian Kelpie and German Shepherd.

Pop Culture

The Australian Kelpie dog is found in numerous films. One of the most popular was Red Dog from 2011. In this film, the dog reunites people of Dampier, Western Australia. Koko was the dog actor’s real name. He died in 2012 from heart failure in Perth, Western Australia at the age of seven. The prequel, Red Dog: True Blue was subsequently dedicated to his memory.

Another famous movie is The Sundowners from 1960. The Australian Kelpie, Ollie, was Sean’s dog. The movie is about an Australian family.

Interesting Facts

It’s possible that dingoes were once interbred with the Australian Kelpie at some point in their history. If that’s true, it’s now a part of the bloodline.

Australian Kelpies have varying coat colors. Some include red, black, smoky blue, chocolate or fawn. Some varieties feature tan markings.

The dog features a double coat with an outer weather-resistant layer. It doesn’t require much grooming, but it sheds heavily in the spring.

The Kelpie works hard and can travel over 30 miles per day. It will nip the heels of herd animals to make them move. A typical Kelpie weighs between 25 and 45 pounds. They will live to be ten to 14 years old.

Because they contain special oils in their fur, they only need a bath if they get dirty. Otherwise, they should be left alone, so their coat doesn’t dry out.

Learn All About Camels

Camels have been domesticated for more than 3,000 years and have become an integral part of transportation in arid environments.

With the ability to carry 200 pounds while traveling 20 miles, the camel is an animal that deserves profound respect.

What You Should Know

A dromedary camel, otherwise known as the Arabian camel is a domesticated animal. 90% of the world’s camels today are dromedaries. They are found in harsh, desert environments. With the ability to travel as fast as horses and endure long stretches without food or water, they are real survivalists.

As the camel stores less food, the hump size changes. The amount of time that a camel can go without eating or drinking depends on its activity level and climate. Some camels go longer than a week without water and several months without eating. Then, it can drink up to 32 gallons of water at once.

The camel isn’t picky about its diet. With its thick lips, camels eat items that other animals cannot. Because they are herbivores, you won’t catch them with meat in their mouth, but you might see one eating a thorny plant.

Humans use camels for transportation, leather, wool, milk, meat and dung for fuel.

What Sound Do They Make?

Camels make many sounds, including grunting and bellowing. Often, they resemble a lamb or goat noise, but can also be known to roar loudly.

Hear the strange and unusual sounds that come from a camel.

Group Characteristics

Camels prefer to stay in a group or herd. A dominant male leads the herd. Other males move on and form what’s known as a bachelor herd. The camel is a social animal and is often seen greeting others by blowing in their faces.

A wild camel will migrate across vast distances to find salt water and graze. They survive extreme temperature fluctuations from -29° Fahrenheit to 120° Fahrenheit.

The female camel endures a gestation of 12 to 14 months. When the mother is ready to birth her young, she finds a quiet, private location. Typically, the female only births one live baby, but there are occurrences of twins. The baby camel is known as a calf. Within 30 minutes, this calf walks, though the baby and mom don’t rejoin the herd for two weeks. When the camel is seven years old, it’s considered fully mature and it will live to around 17 years old.

How Many are There?

The wild camel is considered endangered with only about 950 left in Mongolia and China. As far as the domesticated variety, there’s an estimated 1.4 million in the world.

Natural predators do exist to the camel, including the wolf. Wild camels face more danger from human hunters and will go extinct if people continue to kill them.

Watch a Video

There’s a great documentary available to learn more about the camel.

In this video, you can learn more about the Dromedary Camel & Bactrian Camel.

Pop Culture

Camels have an important role in movies that take place in the desert. You will see featured in popular movies such as The Mummy, The Scorpion King, Sahara, Jarhead and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Joe Camel (was the advertising mascot for Camel cigarettes from 1987 until 1997.

Zoos across the country feature camels on display for the purpose of educating and conservation.

Interesting Facts

A dromedary camel features one hump while the Bactrian species has two. To remember the names easily, simply think of the letter D on its side – it has one hump. The letter B on its side has two humps.

Camels do spit and it’s not a pleasant experience to be around. Because of their size, camel spit is more like vomit. Everything in its stomach comes up with the saliva. You can tell the camel is about to spit when it bulges its cheeks.

Learn All About Pigs

Despite popular belief, the pig is not a dirty animal.

In fact, they keep themselves remarkably clean. Their reputation is earned because of how messy it looks after it rolls in the mud to cool off.

What You Should Know

Pigs, otherwise known as swine or hogs, are found throughout the world, except Antarctica. The male pig is called a boar while a female is referred to as a sow. Pigs provide valuable resources to humans, including pork products, glue, leather, lard, medicines and fertilizer.

When in the wild, a pig eats anything it can find. This includes small reptiles, rodents, fruit, roots and leaves. Farm-raised pigs in the United States eat diets made of mostly corn. The European pigs feast on barley instead.

A wild pig lives in wetlands, grasslands, savannas, rain forests, temperate forests and scrublands. Any chance the pig can, it gladly wallows in the mud. This helps them to regulate body temperature and keeps the parasites at bay.

Pigs are social creatures. They will travel in a tight group, referred to as a sounder. This usually consists of two females and all of the young.

What Sound Do They Make?

Most people think a pig makes an oink sound – that’s what we learned in Old MacDonald. Instead, pigs do most of their communicating by making a squeak or grunting noise. When they produce a more extended growl, a loud roar or short grunt, they are warning the other pigs of danger. 

Pigs have been heard screaming up to 115 decibels. That’s louder than the sound a jet engine makes when it takes off.

Watch these adorable pig pictures while listening to their typical sounds.

Group Characteristics

A well-fed sow produces a minimum of ten piglets per pregnancy. Sometimes, this occurs twice a year. This litter is called piglets. The sow nurses her piglets for up to five weeks. Once the piglets are weaned, they are called shoats.

When born, the baby pig weighs about 2.5 pounds. Within a week, that weight doubles. A fully grown pig weighs up to 700 pounds, and sometimes more.

How Many Are There?

Currently, about two billion pigs are domesticated worldwide. 85% of the world’s pigs live in China (50%), the European Union and the United States. More than a billion pigs are killed each year, averaging 23 million per week.

Watch a Video

Here’s a fascinating documentary on pigs.

To brighten your day, try not to smile while watching these cute pig videos.

Pop Culture

The list of pigs in pop culture is never-ending. Here are just a few you probably know about.

  • Piggly Wiggly supermarket in the Southern United States
  • Hamm, the piggy bank from Toy Story
  • Pumbaa, Timon’s best friend in The Lion King
  • Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web
  • Peppa Pig
  • Miss Piggy, the self-centered puppet on The Muppet Show

Pigs in America can be found at most any farm and zoo. It’s a common animal found at petting zoos for children as well.

Interesting Facts

Pigs are one of the smartest domesticated animals there are. Studies find that they might even be more intelligent than dogs.

Adult pigs can drink up to 14 gallons of water in one day.

Pigs have been used by police to sniff out drugs, just the same way they use dogs. In addition, pigs have been utilized during war times to find landmines.

The pig’s tongue contains around 15,000 taste buds. In comparison, our taste buds only contain about 9,000 taste buds.

The first record of a pig coming to America was in 1539 with the Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto.