What better way to celebrate the Year of the Pig than with a collection of these charming oinking mammals? When most people think of pigs, they think of the movie Babe or a dish of delicious bacon, but these smart barnyard critters are much more than that. For example, did you know that are smarter than most children under the age of three? Or that there are twice as many in Denmark as there are people?
Continue reading to find more intriguing facts about pigs, including the history of the 15-million-year-old dinosaur pig! Also, see some adorable photographs of the farm's most intelligent and sociable animals.
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Pigs Have a Long History Around the World
Pigs were the first animals to be domesticated by humans, and it wasn't a kind of cat or dog. Although the oldest documented evidence of a pig farm is from China in 3468 BC, many historians think pigs were domesticated as early as 6,000 years ago.
A few years later—in 1539, to be precise—pigs crossed the ocean and arrived in America with Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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A Dinosaur Pig Lived During the Late Eocene Epoch
According to fossil records, entelodonts, pig-like dinosaurs, roamed the planet about 16.3 million years ago, during the late Eocene and early Miocene epochs.
Enteledonts, on the other hand, were not quite like today's tamed pigs. They stood roughly seven feet tall at the shoulder, weighed around 1,000 pounds, and had several (yes, multiple) sets of teeth, akin to sharks. Entelodonts are known as "terminator pigs" or "hell pigs" because of their menacing look. Isn't he quite the opposite of the nice pig from Babe?Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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Pigs Are Incredibly Intelligent Animals
Pigs aren't just attractive with their curly tails and beautiful snouts; they're also extremely intelligent animals. Pigs are smarter than dogs, certain primates, and even human children under the age of three, according to research.
So, how intelligent are these farm animals? Pigs have exceptional long-term memory, according to research. They recognize when humans are being nice to them and when they aren't, and they can socially influence other pigs into performing their bidding! Toddlers can be manipulative in various ways, but in social situations? No, we don't believe so.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Piglets Can Recognize Their Moms' Voices—and Learn Their Names
Remember how pigs are supposed to be geniuses? Adult pigs aren't the only ones with a lot of brains; baby piglets are just as smart. Piglets may learn to rush towards their mothers' voices and acquire their human names within two weeks after birth, demonstrating their intelligence. When will you, human kids, catch up?Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Pigs Love to Talk
Pigs are well renowned for their high-pitched squeals, which can reach a loudness of 115 decibels, which is three decibels louder than a jet engine. However, this isn't their only mode of communication. Pigs are always conversing and have been seen using over 20 distinct vocalizations, each with its unique significance.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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Pigs Are Extremely Social Animals
It should come as no surprise that pigs are quite gregarious, given their intelligence. They are not just lively, curious, and talkative, but they also build strong ties with pigs and other animals. They like to cuddle up for warmth and comfort when they're sleeping (or if it's just a bit chilly outside). Is there anything cuter than this?
Related:Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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Pigs Can Run Faster Than You Think
Have you recently ran a mile? What time was it for you? You're almost as fast as a regular farmed pig if it's approximately seven minutes per mile. Yes, you read that correctly. A mature pig can run at roughly 11 mph, or seven minutes per mile.
But don't start your marathon training with a pig just yet—pigs' lungs are tiny in comparison to their body size, making their seven-mile-per-hour pace unsustainable over longer distances.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Pigs Have Super Powerful Noses
Pigs have the worst vision of all the barnyard animals, but their sense of smell is incredible. It's so potent that many farmers train their pigs to hunt for rare (and expensive) truffles concealed beneath, earning them the moniker "truffle pig." Their snouts are also particularly strong and flexible, allowing them to efficiently burrow about in muck and filth.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Sows Sing to Their Piglets
Pigs like interacting with one another. But here's the finest piece of trivia you'll hear today: Sows, or mother pigs, are frequently heard "singing" to their piglets when they are nursing. You're the one who's sobbing, not me.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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Pigs Can't Actually Sweat
"I'm sweating like a pig," we've all said hundreds of times. This old proverb is incorrect since pigs do not sweat. They have relatively few sweat glands, making perspiration practically impossible. What is their favorite cooling method? Splashing in a body of water or a massive mud puddle. There's even a beach in the Bahamas where you can cool down and swim among them.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Pigs Don't Really "Pig Out"
There is no such thing as "eating like a pig" or "pigging out" when it comes to piggies. Pigs will consume almost anything, even rubbish and human bones, according to some stories, but they like to eat slowly, relishing each mouthful with their massive 15,000 senses. To put things in perspective, humans only have roughly 9,000 tastes.Continue to 12 of 12 below.
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There's No Such Thing as Teacup Pigs
Teacup pigs are not a breed of pig, despite what you may have seen on Instagram. Teacups, in reality, do not exist. Teacup is a nickname given by breeders to ordinary potbellied pigs who have been starved or inbred to delay their growth.
There are numerous myths and misconceptions about so-called "teacup" pigs, so do your homework before adding one to your household. Purchasing a "teacup" pig is not only immoral (breeders frequently employ inhumane ways to attain a smaller pig size), but it can also be harmful to the pig's and your family's health. Furthermore, due to difficulties with their skeletal and immunological systems caused by malnutrition and inbreeding, "teacup" pigs only survive for around five years.
If you're considering getting a pig as a pet, look into these two common breeds: