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Top Ten Fascinating Facts About Pigs

Written by PETA | May 7, 2009
wannaveg / CC

With swine flu now in at least 22 countries and the World Health Organization announcing that you may be able to get sick from eating pork from infected animals, pigs appear to be on people’s minds 24/7. Here are some facts about pigs that you might not catch on the nightly news:


  1. Pigs snuggle close to one another and prefer to sleep nose to nose. They dream, much as humans do. In their natural surroundings, pigs spend hours playing, sunbathing, and exploring. People who run animal sanctuaries for farmed animals often report that pigs, like humans, enjoy listening to music, playing with soccer balls, and getting massages.
  2. Pigs communicate constantly with one another; more than 20 vocalizations have been identified that pigs use in different situations, from wooing mates to saying, “I’m hungry!”
  3. Newborn piglets learn to run to their mothers’ voices and to recognize their own names. Mother pigs sing to their young while nursing.
  4. According to Professor Donald Broom of the Cambridge University Veterinary School, “[Pigs] have the cognitive ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so than dogs and certainly [more so than human] 3-year-olds.”
  5. Pigs appear to have a good sense of direction and have found their way home over great distances. Adult pigs can run at speeds of up to 11 miles an hour.
  6. Professor Stanley Curtis of Penn State University has found that pigs can play joystick-controlled video games and are “capable of abstract representation.” Dr. Curtis believes that “there is much more going on in terms of thinking and observing by these pigs than we would ever have guessed.”
  7. Pigs do not “eat like pigs” or “pig out.” They prefer to eat slowly and savor their food.
  8. Suzanne Held, who studies the cognitive abilities of farmed animals at the University of Bristol’s Centre of Behavioural Biology, says that pigs are “really good at remembering where food is located, because in their natural environment food is patchily distributed and it pays to revisit profitable food patches.”
  9. Pigs are clean animals. If given sufficient space, they will be careful not to soil the area where they sleep or eat. Pigs don’t “sweat like pigs”; they are actually unable to sweat. They like to bathe in water or mud to keep cool, and they actually prefer water to mud. One woman developed a shower for her pigs, and they learned to turn it on and off by themselves.
  10. In his book The Whole Hog, biologist and Johannesburg Zoo director Lyall Watson writes, “I know of no other animals [who] are more consistently curious, more willing to explore new experiences, more ready to meet the world with open mouthed enthusiasm. Pigs, I have discovered, are incurable optimists and get a big kick out of just being.”

These are just a few of the many reasons not to eat pigs. Click here to learn more about pigs.

Written by Heather Moore

Commenting is closed.
  • that is mean that they kill pigs but I learned that well a lot a stuff on this website I give this website a thumb up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Diego says:

    Pigs taste delicious, but eating them is murder. Tasty, tasty murder.

  • Claire says:

    Melissa, a piggy can be trained to use a litterbox but it should be filled with with pine shavings or shredded paper, not kitty litter. They can live inside but you should have a nice fenced area for them to play in!

  • Courtney says:

    Ashley, unfortunately you really do not seem to know anything about pigs. As far as not keeping them when they get bigger…I have 2 sows that are over 800 pounds each and they will never go to slaughter. They know their names and come to me when I call them. They love to be petted and have their bellies scratched.

  • Prof J O Daniel says:

    I’ve just known now what reasonable animals pigs are. The Creator has indeed made all things well.

  • Snorkle Meow says:

    pigs are awesome and are so cute so dont eat because there realy smart ther awesome 🙂 oh yeah only one who did a smiley face!

  • sterling98 says:

    “Hi, I know this sounds a bit silly, but I’ve wanted to know for ages. When you see pigs in a field with their little round half barrel type houses, do they sleep in the same ones every night or do they go to which ever one is nearest?” To answer your question Minsmum — Pigs usually sleep in the same shelter each night, with their group of buddies. Sometimes, a pig will go sleep with another group if he is pushed out of his normal one or mad at his friends. This is at least the way it is among pot-bellied pigs so I’d assume it’s the same with bigger pigs.

  • Rina C says:

    Actually Ashley adult pigs r gorgeous and affectionate, my pet mini pig is the love of my life! People like u put the idea of animals getting less cute when they get older in people’s heads! Animals have feelings, love their owners and r clearing smarter than u! And for other people each to their own but I think eating your loving pet is barbaric!!!

  • Garrett says:

    Peta Files ?

  • jacob says:

    I love pigs soo much, they are extremely talented, very fun and playful, they make great pets and the kids love them. And they taste amazing when they get fat enough to hit the slaughter house. hands down my favorite meal

  • minsmum says:

    Hi, I know this sounds a bit silly, but I’ve wanted to know for ages. When you see pigs in a field with their little round half barrel type houses, do they sleep in the same ones every night or do they go to which ever one is nearest?

  • Tiago says:

    Lyall Watson also writes at The Whole Hog that pigs “taste a lot better than dogs do”. Yeah, that’s another reason he gives us (readers) about how pigs are better than dogs. That is AMAZINGLY SAD, and unfortunately Watson is not alive so I could say him a few words.

  • Melissa says:

    Can a piggy use a litter and live inside?

  • Ashley says:

    Almost all of these comments are about how most of you “love cute little piggies!” I would like to see you adopt one. Yes cute when they are born but I guarantee when it grows to an adult… wont keep it anymore. I bet most of you have never even been around swine in your life

    • PigLuver says:

      For the record, Ashley, pigs are amazing and I HAVE adopted one and I love him to death. He is full grown but still as cute and awesome as when he was a piglet.

  • Nicole says:

    Pigs can learn tricks faster than dogs. They are far more sophsicated than three year old humans.

  • Saucy says:

    Dear God America what did pigs ever do to you that you should treat them with such shameless brutality. Shame on You America! Shame on the Department of Agriculture for not stopping this greed and brutality. “The Banquet of those who stretch themselves will be ended” ………………..Nehemiah

  • Wendy says:

    I always knew pigs were something special and not to mention how very cute they are!! They shouldn’t be eaten and I LOVED Zyklonia’s comment! Very cool! But I just don’t think Steve has it to climb in a tiger’s cage!

  • Jaquie says:

    Zyklonia i am laughing at your comment it is great pigs are lovely i can’t imagine eating a cute playful little pig.

  • Andrew says:

    You tell him Zyklonia!

  • Zyklonia Dark says:

    I actually have a pig Ms. Piggy who was brought to my farm instead of to market!! She lives the good life every mourning she is up with the sun she eats a bit then rests on a sandy hill. when it gets warmer she moves to the front of my property and relaxes by the pool my pond after a good mud bath!! I am glad I got the chance to give this great lady a second chance at life!!! Steve I am sure you taste good too!! Why don’t you go climb into a tiger cage???

  • Steve says:

    I have no argument that pigs are intelligent and highly social animals but I dispute whole heartedly the claim that pigs “do not eat like pigs”. What a ludicrous claim! Pigs are smart but they also taste good.

  • Cat! =^-^= says:

    Oh my GOODNESS Miss Denise if you cannot write anything actually RELATED to the blog and this is not the first time will you PLEASE just post your uneducated narrowminded opinions elsewhere? Try Faux Noise… I mean Fox News… This post doesn’t address the health dangers of eating pork although there are certainly plenty other than the ones Denise TRIED to refute it addresses the morality of eating a living being that has been scientifically proven to exhibit very humanlike behaviors. That being said… I absolutely ADORE pigs because of their intelligence playfulness undying affection mine used to give me kisses when she knew I was sad and… well c’mon how can you NOT find something with a little pink snout and floppy doglike ears cute? Personally I can’t understand why anyone would continue to eat pork after knowing all these facts about pigs but if they do… please at least acknowledge that you’re eating the flesh of a creature that is every bit as capable of loving and being happy as you are.

  • Ghill says:

    Denise this is not about the viruses…

  • Sylver-Clove says:

    NOW i want go and play with a little piglet. they make me want to cry when i see people eat them.

  • AAG says:

    Hooray for piggies!!!!! Go vegan!!!

  • Suzie says:

    Aw I love pigs! I really wanna go play with some now.

  • margarita says:

    I love piggers! I will try to save at least 2 from the slaughter and give them a life of leasure when we get our new home in the country.

  • amanda tink says:

    peta thank you so much for this article ..i love pigs and everyone else should as well.this definitely made me smile when i read all the great facts about them! go piggies!

  • Denise says:

    I heard on the news plenty of times that if you actually cook your pork you cannot get sick from it. Cooking it removes parasites bacteria and viruses although most viruses do not live on dead flesh to long after it is deceased. I also read the article and it states you can only get it from the blood how many people eat pork with blood ozzing out of it?

  • alexis kerr says:

    makes me want to rescue a pig. C they are such loving creatures!

  • Brien Comerford says:

    As usual PETA instead of the news media tells the truth in reference to how intelligentsociable and sensitive pigs and many other animals truly are. The news media and papers are in complete complicity with animal killing industries. PETA and other animal rights organizations are the true guardians and stewards of God’s magnificent animal kingdom.

  • Emily G, 15 says:

    This was very interesting I’ve always loved pigs and these are lovely little facts. Pigs are adorable.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Pigs also love having their bellies and backs scratched and they love the smell of scented shoelaces especially the pickes and chocolate variety. Rule for entering a pig pen while touring a farm with your child wear workboots. Both male and female pigs love fancy shoes and sandals the more expensive your footwear the more the pigs will try to separate them from your feet. They are also facinated by painted manicured toenails and ankle bracelets.