Pigs are very misunderstood animals. These facts can help change the world’s perception of them.
Pigs are very smart! They are one of the smartest animals in the world, usually ranking around number 5 or 6 when scientific rankings are put out (just behind primates and dolphins). Their intelligence level is equal to a 3-4 year old human child.
Pigs share many of the same emotions that we do. They experience happiness, and do in fact, smile when happy! Pigs get excited and share moments of joy with each other (especially when treats are handed out). They also can go through depression, especially when taken from a home that they were used to and loved. If abused and greatly hurt, pigs also cry real tears when sad.
Pigs are very clean animals! A pig will use a dedicated area of its pen for the bathroom area, usually furthest away from where it sleeps and eats. It is a misconception that they are dirty since they can be seen in the mud during summertime, which leads us to the next fact…
Pigs do NOT sweat. Despite the common phrase “sweating like a pig”, pigs do not sweat. That is why you will find them in the mud during the summertime, as it helps keep them cool and protects their skin from the sun like sunscreen does for us. The term comes from the days of industrial steel production and refers to pig iron, which was shaped in molds that had the pieces branching off to look like piglets suckling on a sow. Once produced, pig iron was cool enough to move once it had water vapor condensing on its surface, thereby producing “sweat.”
All pigs grow tusks. Tusks on male pigs who are not neutered (boars) grow the fastest. However even after a male pig has been neutered (known then as a barrow), their tusks continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate. Female pigs also have tusks…but they are much, much smaller and grow very slowly never showing outside the mouth like male tusks do. We have our pigs tusks trimmed by a professional every so often to prevent them from becoming too long to cause issues (getting stuck in fencing, accidentally causing harm to another pig, etc).
Pigs have poor eyesight BUT a panoramic vision of 310º. Compared to humans, pigs prioritize their lateral vision (what they see on the sides) and this increases their panoramic vision. This means they have a greater capacity for detecting possible threats, incoming food, other pigs, etc. However, it decreases their bifocal vision, so they have a harder time calculating distances.
Pigs have a superior sense of smell, greater than that of dogs. Pigs have 1,113 olfactory functional genes (smelling genes) compared to dogs having 872 and humans having 400. This makes a pigs sense of smell 2000x more powerful than ours! Incredibly, some wild pigs are capable of sensing some odors 5 to 7 miles away and may be able to detect odors as much as 25 feet underground.