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.