From piglets to sows and also sounder, uncover the lives of among Earth"s many recognisable animals


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

Archaeological evidence suggests that pigs to be domesticated roughly 10,500 years ago in the close to East, before farmers first brought them to Europe around 8,500 years ago, according to research published in the journal Proceedings that the national Academy the Sciences. 

Domestic pigs room 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 of Life. Right now there are roughly 752 million residential pigs worldwide, 406 million of which deserve to be found in China, according to Statista. 

Related story: Warty pig is oldest animal cave arts on record

How huge are pigs?

Pigs commonly weigh in between 300 and also 700 lbs. (140 and also 300 kilograms), but domestic pigs are frequently bred to it is in heavier. The largest pig in background was a swine called huge Bill, who stood at 5 feet (1.52m) tall and also weighed an impressive 2,552 lbs (1,157 kilograms), follow to Guinness people Records. 

Wild pigs at the same time vary significantly in size and weight. The largest boar is the giant forest hog (Hylochoerus meinertzhageni). Indigenous to much more than a dozen countries throughout Africa, it grows as much as 6.6 feet (2 meters) long and measures 3.6 feet (1.1 metres) tall, according to the Encyclopedia of Life. Despite it is seldom seen, video clip of the elusive beast was caught in June 2018 through ecologists in Uganda, National geographical reported.

You are watching: Are bears and pigs in the same family

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

Where do boars live?

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

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

Swine plot

Pigs are very intelligent animals. According to a review published in 2015 in the worldwide Journal of comparative Psychology, pigs room "cognitively complex," sharing plenty of traits with pets that are frequently considered come be highly intelligent. The review analyzed findings from a number of studies, arguing that pigs were capable of remembering objects, perceiving time, and also making usage of learned info to navigate your environment. Pigs are additionally playful and also have a wide selection of play actions — another indication of knowledge in animals, the researchers reported.

In 2020, researchers at Pennsylvania State University put pig intelligence to the test in a series of joystick-operated video clip tasks. 2 Panepinto micro pigs and also two Yorkshire pigs (Sus scrofa) were trained to manage the motions of the computer cursor via a joystick, a test used to evaluate the cognitive abilities of other animals, such as monkeys and also pigeons. The pigs were tasked v making contact between the cursor and also a randomly inserted target ~ above the screen. Top top successful call an automatically dispenser exit a food pellet reward. Every pigs were "significantly above chance on first attempts to call one-walled target", the authors of the research wrote. This suggests that this pigs to be able to do the association in between the joystick and also the cursor.

They are also very social. Feral pigs frequently travel in close-knit groups dubbed sounders, which generally consist of 2 females and also their young, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Pigs interact with a variety of grunts and squeaks. A brief grunt, a longer growl and also a loud roar will certainly warn various other pigs of pull close danger, according to the san Diego Zoo. The pigs" major defense is speed, however when cornered, your tusks deserve to be formidable weapons. Their lower tusks can obtain to be around 3 inches lengthy (7 cm) and also are razor sharp.

See more: How I Spank My 16 Year Old, When Parents Hit Their Teenagers

Related: Pigs have the right to breathe through their butts. Have the right to humans?

What carry out pigs eat?

Pigs, boars and also hogs space omnivores and also will eat just around anything. Wild boars, for example, fill the bulk of your diet v roots, seeds, bulbs and green plants, according to the woodland Trust, yet as opportunistic feeders lock will also chow down on invertebrates, carrion (decaying flesh) and also even little mammals uncovered on the woodland floor. 

Domestic pigs and also hogs room fed feed the is do from corn, wheat, soy or barley. On little farms, pigs are frequently fed "slop," which is composed of vegetables peels, fruit rinds and other leftover food items. Most varieties of pigs process plants in their hindguts; however, your digestion of cellulose is inefficient, requiring castle to feed often, follow to the Encyclopedia that Life.

How countless offspring perform pigs have?

Domestic pigs deserve to breed throughout the year without any seasonal constraints. When pregnant, woman pigs, generally called sows, carry a litter of about 10 piglets for about 114 days prior to giving birth, follow to the pet welfare organisation Compassion in world Farming.

Within the very first six hours piglets suckle the "first milk", likewise known together colostrum, i m sorry is jam-packed with nutrients and also essential antitoxin to construct the piglet"s immune system. If the piglet drinks the an initial milk after 25 hours of gift born your intestines will certainly not be able to successfully absorb the antibodies in the milk, according to the agriculture and Horticulture breakthrough Board. 

Wild pigs mate during the winter season, once solitary males look for out a potential mate. As soon as impregnated, wild sows will also give bear to around 10 piglets and also will share the duty of increasing them till they with 1 year old. In ~ which suggest the sounder will return to his solitary life-style, according to the backwoods Trust. 

Conservation status

Wild boars room not endangered, according to the worldwide Union because that Conservation that Nature’s (IUCN) Red perform of threatened Species. They are noted as "least concern" because of the wild pig"s "wide range, abundance, tolerance to habitat disturbance and presence in many protected areas."

Related: FDA approves genetically engineered pigs because that food and also transplants

Historically wild boar have been moved to extinct in various countries about the world, for example in England through 1260, boar had been hunted to finish eradication, Countryside has previously reported. However, through introduction programmes over there are at this time over 4,000 wild boar throughout the joined Kingdom, BBC Countryfile has actually previously reported. 

Although wild boar populations 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) space "vulnerable"; Javan warty pigs (Sus verrucosus) are "endangered"; and also Visayan warty pigs space "critically endangered." Hunting and habitat loss are cited together the reasons of declining populations in this species, according to the IUCN. 

Additional resources:

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

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