Many people think of pigs as dirty but they are known to be very clean animals. Pigs tend to soil in one area usually away from their sleeping and eating areas. They roll in mud to help them keep cool and prevent sunburn.
Pigs were one of the first animals to be domesticated. Nowadays they are farmed for their meat; pork, ham and bacon. Some religions such as Judaism and Islam believe eating pork is wrong.
Some smaller breeds of pigs, such as the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, are becoming popular pets. Pigs are very clever, sociable animals that can be trained more easily than dogs or cats.
Pigs are mammals, they live on farms and in homes as domesticated pigs but in many places they live in the wild as wild boar. Wild boar can be very destructive.
Pigs are omnivores which means they eat both plants and meat. In the wild, pigs eat leaves, grasses, roots, fruits, and flowers; domesticated pigs are generally fed corn and soybean meal. Pigs need lots of water, over half their body weight is made up of water.
Baby pigs are called piglets. The sow (mother pig) gives birth to a litter of usually 8 - 12 piglets at a time.
Pigs, wild or domestic, can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
Some Fun Facts
- There are many different species of pig, including the bearded pig, the warty pig and the pot-bellied pig!
- The earliest images of humans hunting wild boar date from the Upper Paleolithic (Old Stone Age).
- China has the world's largest population of domestic pigs.
- Pig hair is called bristle and is sometimes used to make paint brushes.
- Pigs have four toes on each foot but most of the weight is carried on just two of the toes. This is why pigs look as if they are walking on tip toe.
- Pigs are considered to be one of the most intelligent animals in the world, they have even been trained to play video games!
Year of the Pig
The pig is one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac. If someone in your household or the kids in your class were born in the Year of the Pig, you might like to check out our Chinese zodiac themed activities:
Year of the Pig