From piglets to sows and sounder, discover the resides of one of Earth"s most recognisable animals


Pigs space members of the Suidae family, which has eight genera and also 16 species. Among those types are wild boars, warthogs, pygmy hogs and also domestic pigs.

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Archaeological evidence suggests that pigs were domesticated around 10,500 years earlier in the close to East, before farmers first brought them come Europe about 8,500 years ago, according to research released in the newspaper Proceedings that the nationwide Academy the Sciences.

Domestic pigs space descended largely from the wild boar (Sus scrofa) and the Sulawesi warty pig (Sus celebensis), diverging from your closest ancestors about 500,000 years back according to the Encyclopedia that Life. At this time there are around 752 million residential pigs worldwide, 406 million of which have the right to be found in China, according to Statista.

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How big are pigs?

Pigs generally weigh between 300 and 700 lbs. (140 and 300 kilograms), however domestic pigs are frequently bred to be heavier. The biggest pig in background was a swine called big Bill, who stood at 5 feet (1.52m) tall and weighed an outstanding 2,552 lbs (1,157 kilograms), follow to Guinness world Records.

Wild pigs on the other hand vary greatly in size and also weight. The biggest boar is the giant woodland hog (Hylochoerus meinertzhageni). Indigenous to much more than a dozen countries across Africa, the grows approximately 6.6 feet (2 meters) long and measures 3.6 feet (1.1 metres) tall, follow to the Encyclopedia of Life. Though it is hardly ever seen, video of the elusive beast was captured in June 2018 through ecologists in Uganda, National geographic reported.

The heaviest boar is the Eurasian wild pig (Sus scrofa), which grow to 710 lbs. (320 kg), and the smallest boar is the pygmy hog (Sus salvanius). This delicate swine grow to a length in between 1.8 and also 2.4 feet (55 come 71 centimeters) and also stands 9.8 customs (25 cm) tall from hoof come shoulder. The pygmy hog only weighs 14.5 to 21 lbs. (6.6 come 9.7 kg), follow to the san Diego Zoo.

Where execute boars live?

Boars, pigs and hogs live everywhere the world, other than for Antarctica, northern Africa and also far north Eurasia, according to the Encyclopedia of Life. For example, red river hogs (Potamochoerus porcus), additionally called shrub pigs, are uncovered in Africa; babirusas (Babyrousa babyrussa), or pig deer, are uncovered in Indonesia; and Visayan warty pigs (Sus cebifrons) come indigenous the Philippines.

Wild pigs generally live in grasslands, wetlands, rain forests, savannas, scrublands and also temperate forests. Anytime they have actually the chance, all pigs wallow in mud as it helps them to control their body temperature and also discourages parasites.

Swine action

Pigs are really intelligent animals. Follow to a review released in 2015 in the international Journal of compare Psychology, pigs are "cognitively complex," sharing numerous traits with animals that are typically considered come be very intelligent. The evaluation analyzed result from a number of studies, saying that pigs were qualified of remembering objects, perceiving time, and also making usage of learned info to navigate their environment. Pigs are also playful and also have a wide selection of play behaviors — another indication of knowledge in animals, the researchers reported.

In 2020, researchers at Pennsylvania State University put pig knowledge to the test in a series of joystick-operated video tasks. Two Panepinto micro pigs and also two Yorkshire pigs (Sus scrofa) were trained to control the activities of the computer system cursor via a joystick, a test offered to evaluate the cognitive ability of various other animals, such as monkeys and also pigeons. The pigs to be tasked v making contact between the cursor and a randomly inserted target ~ above the screen. ~ above successful contact an automatically dispenser released a food pellet reward. All pigs to be "significantly above chance on first attempts to call one-walled target", the writer of the study wrote. This says that these pigs were able to do the association in between the joystick and the cursor.

They are also an extremely social. Feral pigs regularly travel in close-knit groups called sounders, which frequently consist of two females and their young, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Pigs interact with a variety of grunts and squeaks. A short grunt, a longer growl and also a according to roar will warn other pigs of draw close danger, follow to the mountain Diego Zoo. The pigs" main defense is speed, but when cornered, their tusks deserve to be formidable weapons. Their reduced tusks can obtain to be around 3 inches lengthy (7 cm) and are razor sharp.

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What carry out pigs eat?

Pigs, boars and hogs space omnivores and also will eat just around anything. Wild boars, because that example, to fill the bulk of their diet through roots, seeds, bulbs and green plants, according to the woodland Trust, but as opportunistic feeders castle will likewise chow down on invertebrates, carrion (decaying flesh) and even small mammals uncovered on the forest floor.

Domestic pigs and hogs are fed feed the is make from corn, wheat, soybean beans or barley. On small farms, pigs are regularly fed "slop," which consists of vegetables peels, fruit rinds and other leftover food items. Most species of pigs process plants in their hindguts; however, their digestion the cellulose is inefficient, requiring lock to feeding often, follow to the Encyclopedia that Life.

How numerous offspring do pigs have?

Domestic pigs deserve to breed transparent the year without any kind of seasonal constraints. When pregnant, female pigs, generally called sows, lug a litter of roughly 10 piglets for roughly 114 days prior to giving birth, follow to the pet welfare organization Compassion in civilization Farming.

Within the first six hours piglets suckle the "first milk", additionally known together colostrum, i beg your pardon is jam-packed through nutrients and also essential antibodies to build the piglet"s immune system. If the piglet drink the first milk after 25 hrs of being born their intestines will not have the ability to successfully absorb the antitoxin in the milk, according to the farming and Horticulture advance Board.

Wild pigs mate throughout the winter season, as soon as solitary males seek out a potential mate. As soon as impregnated, wild sows will likewise give birth to about 10 piglets and also will share the obligation of elevating them until they reach 1 year old. In ~ which suggest the sounder will go back to his solitary life-style, according to the woodland Trust.

Conservation status

Wild boars are not endangered, follow to the global Union because that Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red perform of threatened Species. Castle are provided as "least concern" due to the wild pig"s "wide range, abundance, tolerance to habitat disturbance and also presence in countless protected areas."

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Historically wild boar have actually been thrust to die out in miscellaneous countries around the world, for example in England by 1260, boar had been pursued to complete eradication, Countryside has previously reported. However, through development programmes over there are currently over 4,000 wild boar transparent the unified Kingdom, BBC Countryfile has actually previously reported.

Although wild boar populaces are generally not thought about endangered, there space several types under threat. Sulawesi warty pigs (Sus celebensis) and also Palawan bearded pigs (Sus ahoenobarbus) are listed as "near threatened"; Philippine warty pigs (Sus philippensis) are "vulnerable"; Javan warty pigs (Sus verrucosus) space "endangered"; and Visayan warty pigs room "critically endangered." Hunting and habitat loss room cited together the reasons of decreasing populations in this species, according to the IUCN.

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This article was to update on Oct. 5, 2018 through Live Science senior Writer, Mindy Weisberger.

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Editor"s Note: This article was updated in ~ 4:16 afternoon EDT on Oct. 10, 2018 to reflect a correction. A previous variation incorrectly declared that pigs are not found in Australia.