10 Surprising Facts About Pigs07 April 2015
The humble pig is far from 'boaring' - here at ThePigSite, we’ve compiled a list of ten things you may not know about these remarkable animals.
“Shut up, mum! We’re already asleep!”
(Photo credit: Matthias Hiekel)
1. Newborn piglets learn to run to their mothers’ voices, and can recognize their own names by the time they’re 2 weeks old. Sows have even been known to sing to their young whilst nursing!
“Run, Pig, run!”
(Photo credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
2. Think that pigs are slow and lumbering? As it turns out, they’re not at all! Adult pigs can run at speeds of up to 11mph, or in other words, they can run a seven-minute mile. Could you do any better?
“Who’re you calling ‘sweaty’?”
3. If you’ve ever suggested that someone was ‘sweating like a pig’, then you’d be wrong. Pigs have hardly any sweat glands, and one of the best ways for them to cool down is to wallow in all of that glorious mud.
“Pigs can’t fly, but we can squeal!”
4. A pig's squeal can be as loud as 115 decibels – that’s 3 decibels higher than the sound of a supersonic airliner.
“So, then I said to her…”
5. And when they’re not squealing, they’re talking. Pigs communicate constantly with each other, and more than 20 different vocalisations have been identified; from wooing a mate to saying ‘I’m hungry!”
“Go on, come closer. I promise I won’t hurt you…”
6. And when they’re not either squealing or talking, pigs will eat almost anything – including human bones. In 2012, a farmer in Oregon, America, was eaten by his pigs after having a heart attack and falling into their enclosure. By the time a concerned relative came looking for him, only his dentures were left.
“Roll over, Susan! I’m trying to catch that Frisbee…”
7. They may be indiscriminate eaters, but pigs are also highly intelligent and incredibly social animals. When kept in a group they will snuggle close to one another, and prefer to sleep nose-to-nose. Studies have also shown that, much like humans, they dream.
“Me? I’m not a pig. I’m a night light!”
8. And dreaming isn’t the only way in which pigs are similar to humans – their genetic makeup is also very close to our own. Because of this, stem cells from pigs are being used by scientists to research cures for human diseases. To track the cells once they’ve been injected, Chinese geneticists have crossed a pig with a jellyfish, producing piglets whose tongues and trotters glow fluorescent green in UV light.
“No, that’s it, I’m outta here!”
9. Aside from their life-saving abilities, the pig is also associated with fertility and virility in China. This has led to statues of pigs being displayed prominently in the bedrooms of Chinese couples who are trying to have children.
“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”
10. And finally, we’ve all seen pigs wallowing in the mud, but how about swimming in a crystal clear sea?
On the uninhabited Bahaman Island of Big Major Cay, that’s exactly what they do. A population of wild aquatic swine rules the island, and many have taken to swimming out to the boats offshore, in the hope of being rewarded with a tasty snack.