March 1, 2016

Tek This Out: It’s National Pig Day!

Teacup pigs. Image from Pinterest.

























By Megan G.

SOOOOOOEY! Happy National Pig Day everyone! This wacky yet endearing holiday features events at schools, zoos, nursing homes, and sporting events—but, most importantly, National Pig Day brings about “pig parties,” where people tie pink ribbon pigtails around trees and drink pink punch to honor one of the cutest, smartest, and most social animal species around.


The legend of National Pig Day began on March 1st, 1972 when Southern sisters Ellen Stanley and Mary Lynne Rave wanted to “accord the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man’s most intellectual and domesticated animals.” This tradition is primarily celebrated in the Midwest but, when the Tek Team heard tell of it, we couldn’t wait to bring this porcine jubilee to our SoCal readers!

Without further ado, Tek Shouts! celebrates National Pig Day in our ow,n special way by sharing a ton of fun, fascinating pig facts! First off…

Are pigs really that smart?

You may have heard that pigs are so smart, it's scary.

According to the Humane Society and The Nonhuman Rights Project, pigs are smarter than 3-year-old children, dogs, and chimpanzees. This level of intelligence grants them long-term memory and the ability to discern between different individuals—including humans and other pigs! These studies also suggest that pigs are socially manipulative within their groups…

“Oh my gosh, Genna, do you really think you should be eating that much?”

“SHUT UP, SHARON!” Image from Labor Union Report

…Okay, not that kind of socially manipulative. Thinking Pigs: A Comparative Review of Cognition, Emotion, and Personality in Sus domesticus reports that domestic pigs show signs of “perspective-taking,” which means they can recognize other pigs and interact with them in a Machiavellian manner—by using deceit and manipulation. 

“Deceit? Manipulation? I wouldn’t hurt a fly!” Image from Twisted Sifter.
The paper gives an example of how pigs act in a manipulative manner when they forage for food.

If one pig knows the location of a hidden stash of nomz, another “naïve” pig can follow it to the source, displace the pig, and take the food for its own. In addition to that, the exploited pig will remember how it was tricked by its thieving counterpart, and alter its behavior to protect its food stash in the future.

Apparently, pigs can be as competitive as primates (and us) when it comes to getting a meal!

Hog, swine, boar—what’s the difference?

Hog, swine, boar, piggy…these distinctions might not keep you up at night, but it’s always fun to learn the correct way to reference things—especially if you’re a language nerd like me. 
  • Pig is the general term for the Suidae family of the animal kingdom.
  • Boar means a wild pig of any gender, or an uncastrated, male, domestic pig.
  • Hog refers to a domestic pig that weighs more than 120 lbs. (cough, Genna, cough).
  • Sows are female pigs.
  • Piglets, as I’m sure you know, are adorable baby pigs.

Great! Now you won’t get slapped in the face by a zany zoologist or purist pig farmer. 


From Wiry Whiskers to Miss Piggy, A Few More Fun Facts

Pigs typically live in grasslands, wetlands, rain forests, savannas, scrublands, and temperate forests, and can be found almost anywhere in the world!

Wild pig “families” are called sounders. They consist of one male pig, many females, and their piglets.


A sounder of wild boar. Image from Rough Guides.


















There are pigs with beards.

EYYYYYYY, it’s a Bornean bearded pig showcasing his hipster look. Image from Annagammelgaard.
Domestic pigs have curly tails and wild pigs have straight tails. Why? There is some speculation, but some theories say that pig farmers just liked the way curly pig tails looked, and so bred their pigs accordingly.

Eurasian wild pigs (also known as wild boars) eat venomous snakes. Their thick layer of fat keeps the venom from absorbing fully into their bodies, and whatever venom does make it past that layer is easily broken down by their iron guts. These snake-eatin’ baddies are also the heaviest recorded boars in the world.

A wild boar. Image from Survival Thrive.
















On the flip side, the lightest pig in the world is the pygmy hog, who also wins “The Most Adorable Thing I Have Seen Today” award. 

SO TINY. *FAINTS* Image from PygmyHog.org.
Pigs seem to be a favorite animal in Hollywood, having been the subject of many films and series including Charlotte’s Web, Babe, Porco Rosso, and The Muppets.

Everyone’s favorite diva. Image from Broadcasting & Cable.

Thus concludes today’s Tek This Out! We hope we’ve broadened your hoggy horizons. In the words of arguably the most famous pig in Hollywood…

“A-BIDI-BIDI-BIDI-THAT’S ALL FOLKS!”





















Do you plan on celebrating National Pig Day? If so, let us know how in the comments! 

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