Pigs, also known as hogs or swine, are highly social and intelligent animals. Pigs are found and raised all over the world, and provide valuable products for humans, including pork, lard, leather, glue, fertilizer, and a variety of medicines. Most pigs raised in the United States are classified as meat-type pigs, as they produce more lean meat than lard, a fat used in cooking.
Pigs are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. In the wild, pigs eat everything from leaves, roots, and fruit to rodents and small reptiles. In the United States, farm-raised pigs eat commercially made diets of mostly corn. The pigs at Tradewinds Park like to eat vegetables from the garden, as well as mealworms, chicken eggs, and goat's milk. Pigs have digestive systems that are very similar to humans, making them ideal animals for doctors to conduct nutritional research.
Pigs grow tusks throughout their lives. In the wild they use them for self-defense, but domesticated pigs usually have their tusks trimmed every 10-12 months to keep people and other animals safe.
Pigs are among the smartest of all domesticated animals and are even smarter than dogs. Despite their reputation, they are not dirty animals. They are actually quite clean, but they have very few sweat glands and cannot sweat enough to control their body temperature, so they need to wallow in mud to cool down and to protect themselves from parasites and the sun.
Male pigs are called boars; female pigs are called sows. Sows give birth to a litter of young called piglets. They usually nurse the piglets for three to five weeks.
Piglets weigh about 2.5 pounds at birth, and usually double their weight in one week. Fully grown, meat type pigs such as the Yorkshire pig are usually between 600 and 750 pounds, while miniature potbellied pigs only grow to approximately 150 lbs.