Pot-Bellied Pig

 

Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Taxonomic Name: Sus scrofa domestica Pot-Bellied Pig
 
Range: China and Vietnam
 
Habitat: Forest, woodland, and pastures
 
Physical Characteristics: Body length of about 2 ½ feet; tail can reach a length of 8 inches. Their height at the shoulder may be up to1 ½ feet, tusks can reach 6 inches in total length, including the continually growing root, and their average weight is about 125lbs. Their coloration ranges from dark gray to black or brown in the wild species and gray, black, white or a combination thereof in the domestic animals. The body is covered with stiff bristles and usually some finer fur, but the pelage is often quite scant and the tail is only lightly covered with short hairs. Many individuals have side whiskers and a mane on the nape. The snout is wrinkled and longer then domestic pig. They have a pendulous belly - one that hangs loosely.
 
Longevity: Can range from 12- 30 years with an average of 12- 18.
 
Social Structure: Gregarious; found in herds with an average of 20 individuals. They are very social and need body contact.
 
Active Time: Nocturnal/crepuscular in wild; tend to be more diurnal in captivity.
 
Diet:    Wild - Roots, tubers, vegetation, acorns and nuts, insects, eggs, lizards, mice, carrion, and any birds they can seize.
Zoo - Commercial pig pellets, fruits, and vegetables.
 
Behavior: The wild pigs live mainly in open woodlands, especially where there are wallows. They are swift runners and good, strong swimmers. They normally avoid combat, but will act vigorously when provoked, slashing with their tusks. They like to root in the ground for food and dig holes to use as mud baths. Great distances may be traveled during the night in search of food.
 
Reproduction: Breeding occurs throughout the year, but the female will generally only produce one litter per year. The gestation period is about 114 days. The litter size ranges from 1 to 12 and depends on the size and age of the sow. The average litter size is 4-8 piglets. The piglets are born in a nest and remain there following birth. They weigh about 1lb at birth and will nurse for approximately 3 to 4 months. Puberty is reached at 6-7 months and they may leave the mother prior to the birth of the next litter, although young females often remain longer.
 
Interesting Facts:
  • They have poor eyesight but a highly developed sense of smell.
  • They are very intelligent and can be trained to do simple tricks and walk on a leash much the same way as dogs.
  • There are more pot-bellied pigs in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world. It is estimated that there are over 35,000 pot-bellied pigs in the U.S. today.
  • Domestic pigs and hogs were derived from two wild species, the European wild boar and the Chinese wild pig. Oriental varieties were crossbred with European pigs in the 1800's to make western strains leaner.
  • Pot-bellied pigs were originally brought to Canada in 1985 by a gentleman named Keith Connell.  The offspring of these pigs are now referred to by the name "Con" on their pedigree papers. Two Americans by the name of Leavitts imported four more from China in 1988 and a year later they imported another group whose offspring are now referred to as the "Lea Line." The two breeds have a different look, which helps determine which group various pigs are from. The Connell pigs have ears that lay out away from the head, almost horizontal with the ground. The Lea group has ears that point almost directly skyward. The colors of the two groups are also distinctive with the Lea Line having more white areas or spots than the Con group.
Relationship With Humans: They are bred for their meat, hide, and research. Their popularity as pets is growing because of their general cleanliness, intelligence, and unique appearance.