Domestic Pig

Sus scrofa domesticus
Pig, Swine, Hog
Domestic pigs are commonly known as approachable, loyal and highly intelligent creatures. These animals are rather large representatives of even-toed ungulates. Additionally, they are noticeably larger and slower than the wild pigs, from which they are bred. This practice helps improve the size, temperament and other important features of the animals. Crossbreeding with wild pigs such as woolly boars has produced different types of pigs, the most common of which is this domestic pig. The animal is amazingly clean and don't tend to soil their home ranges. Those found outside the factory farms typically spend their active time playing or taking sunbaths. These animals are also known to possess a highly-developed sense of smell, which helps them explore their surroundings.
784.83 Mln

population size

9-12 yrs

Life span

17 km/h

Top Speed

50-350 kg

Weight

900-180 cm

Length

Disrtibution

Domestic pigs are found all over the world except Antarctica. Ideal habitat for domestic pig is an area with temperate climatic conditions, where they often live in pig barns with large outdoor yards, where they can spend their time. When a female yields offspring, she usually rears her young inside in a special stall, containing enough amounts of straw or wood shavings in order to keep the newborn piglets warm.

Habits and lifestyle

Some behavioral patterns of Domestic pigs resemble these of cattle and sheep. However, the behavior of these mammals has considerably more in common with dogs and humans. Thus, they are known to socialize with conspecifics, gathering on small groups, members of which display phisical contact such as huddling together. Mud is commonly used as defense against ultraviolet light. Additionally, wallowing in the mud helps these pigs cool off and remove parasites from their skin. During favorable conditions, they spend all their time feeding and sleeping. Despite the contemporary production systems, these animals naturally tend to construct sleeping sites. Females of this species (known as sows) make nests, where they produce offspring. Creation of wallows and depressions in the ground in another typical behavior of domestic pigs. Communication between individuals occurs through series of grunting and squeaking sounds.

group name

drift, drove, herd, litter (piglets), sounder

Diet and nutrition

These animals maintain omnivorous diet, which means that they consume food of both animal and plant origin. However, the greater part of their usual diet is composed of corn, wheat, soy or barley. Those living in small farms typically feed upon slop, made up of leftover food such as vegetable peels and fruit rinds. When roaming far from their feeding sites, they may find other types of food.

Diet

Mating habits

The Domestic pig is monogamous and mates for life. Domestic pigs exhibit 2 reproductive seasons per year, occurring in summer and winter. Females undergo 114 days of gestation, in other words: 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. Litter size varies between 6 and 8 piglets, although there have been recorded larger litters of up to 12 piglets, which usually happen in a case of ideal conditions and enough amount of suitable food. Newborn piglets grow very quickly. They usually weigh 1.5 kg at birth, reaching almost 3 kg at one week old. The babies weaned at 3 months old, although they typically remain with their mothers for a while. When rearing their offspring, two or more females and their young often live in groups called extended families.

Mating behavior

Reproduction season

summer and winter

Pregnancy duration

114 days

Independent age

3 months
sow

female name

boar

male name

piglet, farrow

baby name

12 piglets

baby carrying

Population

Population status

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cr
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Population number

According to Statista, in 2016, there were approximately 784.83 million pigs worldwide.

Domestication

Domestication history is insufficiently explored by archaeologists, largely due to the nature of the wild boar, from which the domestic pig origins. Wild hogs are represented by several species around the globe, including the Warthog, the Pygmy hog and the Pig-deer. However, the wild boar is currently the only domesticated species of wild hog. Domestication process of these animals is thought to have occurred around 9,000-10,000 years ago simultaneously in 2 different regions: eastern Anatolia and central China. In course of time, early farmers helped distribute these animals from Anatolia to Europe as well as from central China to the inland regions. They are now bred mainly for their meat known as "pork", whereas their bones, hide and bristles are valuable materials for various commercial products. Additionally, some domestic pigs (particularly, Pot-bellied pigs) are known to be kept as domestic pets.

Fun facts for kids

  1. If you try to pick a pig up, the animal will resist until it's back on the ground. Pigs in general are very afraid of being taken up.
  2. In rural areas, you can often hear the saying “living the life of a pig”, which is usually addressed to spoiled children or very rich people.
  3. Pigs are highly intelligent and easily trainable animals, learning various tricks even faster than dogs. At 2 - 3 weeks old, piglets have already learnt their own names and usually respond to them. As a matter of fact, they are the fourth most intelligent animals in the world only to chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants.
  4. Another unique feature of pigs is their unusual gait. When walking, these animals use only 2 toes of each foot, due to which they seem to walk on tip toe.
  5. Hippopotamus are distant relatives of pigs.
  6. During a long period of time, China used to hold the largest population of domestic pigs around the world.
  7. Pigs give out a shrill, high-pitched squealing noise of up to 115 decibels, which is 3 decibels higher than that of a supersonic Concorde.
  8. In order to bring pigs together, farmers simply produce a yelling sound, to which they instantly respond.
  9. As Winston Churchill said, “Dogs look up to man. Cats look down to man. Pigs look us straight in the eye and see an equal.”

References

  1. Domestic Pig Wikipedia article
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_pig