7 things you may not know about pigs

22 May 2019

It’s 'snout' a secret that pigs are clever animals...but how much do you really know about them?

There's a lot of amazing things to know about pigs: they are amazingly intelligent, socially active animals, who display a lot of positively surprising behaviours. We have picked a few of our favourite pig facts to share with you - we're sure you won't be 'boared' reading this!

Mama knows best

Newborn piglets learn to recognise their mother's voices by the time they are 36 hours old. Sows have been known to call their piglets to nurse with specific grunts - they are such good mums, aren't they? 

A sow and piglet on a high welfare farm in the UK

Oink, oink...oink?

Pigs communicate constantly with each other - and they don't just say "oink"! They have a vocabulary of over 20 different sounds, each one with its own meaning: warning, greeting, hunger...

Pig looking over the wall of a ruined shelter after Hurricane Maria, Brazil

A 'conspiguous' voice

Not only do pigs have a lot to say, but they're going to make sure they're heard: a pig's squeal can reach up to 115 decibels, which is higher than the sound of a supersonic concorde!

Closeup on pig snout

Sweet dreams

Pigs are incredibly social animals, and form close bonds with each other. When kept in a group, they will snuggle close to one another and prefer to sleep nose-to-nose. Studies show that, much alike humans, they also dream in their sleep.

Pigs in group housing with deep beds in a higher welfare indoor farm in the UK

Image credit Thomas Alexander

Catch me if you can

Think that pigs are big and slow? Think again. Adult pigs can run at speeds up to 11 mph - or, in other words, they can run a 7-minute mile. Could you beat a pig in a race?

Closeup of a piglet at a higher welfare indoor farm in the Netherlands

Image credit Bas Niemans

Sweating like a pig?

You may already know that pigs like to bathe in mud and water, but do you know why they love it so much? Pigs need to bathe to stay cool, since they actually have very few sweat glands! Plus, the mud acts as a sunscreen and protects their skin. 

Pregnant sows in the shade and wallowing in mud

Messy business

Another common misconception - pigs are actually very clean animals: when given enough spaces and enrichment (such as straw to play with and build their nests), these surprisingly neat animals will keep their toilet area far away from their living or feeding spaces.

Pigs in group housing with deep beds in a higher welfare indoor farm in the UK

Image credit Thomas Alexander

Pigs are intelligent, social animals with specific needs that must be met by farmers in order for them to live a happy life. Find out what we are doing to protect animals in farming.

Another common misconception - pigs are actually very clean animals!
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