There are many different breeds of pig in the world – some much cuter than others! However, regardless of how appealing you find them, it is undeniable that pigs are incredibly intelligent and very sociable animals. It has been estimated that there are between one and two billion pigs on the planet, and you can read on to find out more about them!

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Life and Diet

Pigs are native to both the African and Eurasian continents. They have been introduced to other parts of the world by humans. As omnivores pigs will eat both plants and other animals. Using their big snouts and fantastic sense of smell, pigs will dig into the earth to look for food if none is readily available. However, when in captivity this is generally not something they need concern themselves with.

In the wild, pigs will mostly sustain themselves on a foraged diet of grass, roots, leaves, fruit and flowers. When kept in captivity they will usually be fed a diet of soybeans and corn, with added nutrients mixed in.

People tend to think of pigs as lazy animals that wallow around in the mud all day, however, when necessary pigs can run at speeds of up to 11 miles per hour! The reason that they can often be seen chilling out in cool mud is that they barely have any sweat glands, so this is the easiest way for them to find relief from the heat.

Reproduction

The females of the species are referred to as sows, whereas the males are known as boars. Sometimes the word hog is used to describe a castrated male pig. Baby pigs are known as piglets.

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Communication

As extremely sociable animals, pigs can often be observed communicating with each other. Research has shown that they will use up to 20 different vocalisations to express different messages and intentions to each other. Also, the squeal of a pig has been recorded at levels as loud as 115 decibels!

Use by Humans

Pig meat is one of the most popular of the meats eaten by humans, and is most commonly called pork, bacon or ham. In fact, nearly 40% of the meat produced around the world is pig meat. As well as being specifically bred and raised for meat on farms, some breeds of pig are also hunted in the wild.

Some types of pig are kept as pets, such as the Asian pot-bellied pig and miniature breeds of pig. There are several anecdotal reports of people purchasing normal piglets as they are told that they are of the miniature variety – and then experiencing a shock as their new pet grows to full size!

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