Pigs are viewed as comical and cute by many people. Some individuals believe that pigs are unclean and dirty, unfit to be pets. One thing is certain, though: Pigs are truly incredibly intelligent creatures. But how smart are they really? Dogs and cats are taught tricks. Even crows can create gadgets to aid in food acquisition. Dolphins can solve problems, and elephants can paint. What about that pig, though? Just how intelligent can they be?
In this article, we’ll explore the intelligence of the common pig. We’ll also identify whether or not it is actually smarter than a dog. You might just be surprised by our findings!
Are Pigs Smart?
Pigs are indeed very smart animals, according to science. Pigs can solve problems almost as effectively as chimps. The authors of one study hope that its findings would help people to reconsider their traditional views about animals like the pig, as they are commonly seen as dirty or only used for food. When it comes down to it, pigs can be extremely intelligent in a number of different ways.
Pigs Have a High Cognitive Ability
According to a study from Emory University, pigs and other highly intelligent creatures like dogs, chimps, elephants, dolphins, and even humans share a lot of cognitive abilities. The conclusion was reached after reviewing and analyzing the findings of several studies done on pigs and other animals. Generally, evidence indicates that pigs have great long-term memory and are adept at tasks requiring item placement, such as mazes.
Pigs Can Comprehend Symbols
Pigs can learn complicated symbol combinations for actions and things, as well as grasp a primitive symbolic language. The researchers from the study mentioned above also think that, like dogs, pigs like playing with one another and frequently engage in pretend combat. Pigs have intricate social structures, and they often cooperate and learn from one another.
Pigs Are Expert Communicators
Pigs are excellent communicators, both with people and with their pen mates. You may have heard about how well-developed pigs’ sense of smell is. They can detect odors up to 20 to 30 feet underground. Their delicate snouts, however, also enable them to interact with one another through pheromones that are jam-packed with data.
Pigs nevertheless use body language to effectively communicate with humans, as our noses aren’t quite as sharp as pigs’ noses. Pigs use their tail wagging, nudging, playfulness, aggression, and even their smiles to communicate their sentiments and wishes. Pigs can be extremely noisy when this doesn’t work. They will use a variety of grunts, oinks, and squeals to communicate. Pigs utilize roughly 20 different sounds to express a variety of emotions, according to a number of researchers.
Pigs Have Excellent Memory
Do you recall the wooden spoon and cereal box experiment? This popular study showed that pigs are capable of differentiating between different objects. they also had quite strong long-term memory. After becoming accustomed to a cereal box, a pig may recall it for five or more days. They will continue to choose to play with it over new items.
The fact that pigs can order their memories according to relevance is maybe even more remarkable. In the study, pigs quickly learned and could reliably recall which source had the more plentiful supply when provided access to two separate food sources. One source had more food and one had less food. The study found that the pigs would seek out the plentiful source once more in the future.
Pigs Can Use Tools
Some of the most intelligent animals on the earth, such as dolphins, monkeys, octopuses, elephants, and crows are on the list of creatures who have been spotted utilizing tools in a similar manner to humans. Pigs have been on this list as well since about 2015.
One ecologist decided to observe the Visayan warty pigs as they constructed their nests in 2015. She saw that one smart pig had started to shift dirt for the nest by digging with a piece of bark she had picked up and placed in her mouth. If that’s not tool use, who knows what is?
The ecologist and a handful of other researchers kept an eye on this group. Sure enough, many warty pigs in the group constantly used adjacent bark to construct their nests. The group’s matriarch appeared to be the most skilled at using her crude shovel. Ecologists theorized that this matriarch acquired the skill first and then taught it to her mate and children in the group.
Are Pigs Emotionally Smart?
Yes. Pigs have great emotional capacity. They are capable of social hierarchies, empathy, and suffering.
Pigs Have Social Capabilities
Pigs have been characterized as extremely sociable creatures by behavioral experts. Mother pigs keep together in small groups in the wild and divide up their parental responsibilities equally among all of their piglets. The piglets naturally establish a social structure as they get older and keep tabs on who is who. Pigs are also incredibly playful. Joyful piglets are often observed running and leaping, engaging in playful wrestling, biting at one another, and pushing one another about.
A newborn pig’s development entirely depends on having the ability to play and interact with pals. Compared to a pig that is allowed to grow up with companions and lots of room to roam, a pig kept apart from other pigs, especially if they are confined in a cage, is more likely to develop behavioral problems.
Pigs Can Have Empathy
Just as well, another research study has also shown that pigs can feel empathy. Pigs were kept in 16 groups of six by researchers in the Netherlands, who trained two of the animals in each group. By playing music and giving the pigs nice treats like chocolate raisins and a large home filled with peat, or by placing them in stressful circumstances like isolating them in a small enclosure, the pigs were found to anticipate happiness or misery.
Untrained pigs were put in an enclosure with a pig that had been trained to anticipate delight or suffering. The same Bach tune used in training was then played to all the pigs. Several of the taught pigs exhibited indicators of anticipation, such as wagging their tails and barking, or stress-related behaviors, such as keeping their ears back, peeing, and defecating.
Even though the majority of the trained pigs showed no reaction at all, they were nonetheless moved to another enclosure, leaving the untrained pigs behind. Depending on their level of training, they were either rewarded or penalized. The untrained pigs responded to the trained pigs’ conduct despite the fact that they could not have anticipated what was in store for their pen mates.
Although pigs are typically viewed as less intelligent and less worthy of compassion than animals like dogs and cats, the study’s authors argue that this is incorrect and that pigs should be treated accordingly.
Are Pigs Smarter Than Dogs?
Yes. Many scientists believe that pigs are smarter than dogs. Scientists claim that pigs are just as clever as dogs, despite the fact that they rarely receive the praise that man’s best friend does for their intelligence. They are even wiser than us in some aspects.
In the first study we mentioned in this article, neurologists investigated the minds of pigs. They came to the conclusion that pigs have complex ethological features that are comparable to those of dogs and even chimps in their review, which was published in the International Journal of Comparative Psychology.
The behavioral similarities between pigs and dogs were identified in the study, as well as areas where pigs excelled. For instance, you can teach a pig to distinguish between the thing you’re asking them to retrieve when you tell them to go get the ball or go fetch the stick on demand. Most dogs struggle with this concept.
Other recent studies compared the responsiveness of untrained pigs to human cues to that of untrained puppies. They discovered that puppies were more naturally receptive to nonverbal cues from humans than piglets were, such as pointing to a reward. That being said, they did not interpret this as evidence that the pigs lacked intelligence. Instead, the researchers hypothesized that this is because dogs have been nurtured for generations to live with people, but pigs have sadly been reared primarily as a food supply rather than the emotionally intelligent companions they could be.
Are Pigs Smarter Than Humans?
Not quite. Since we assess human intelligence very differently from how we measure animal intelligence, it can be challenging to compare our own intelligence to that of other species. A pig’s cognitive capacities, including emotional depth, memory, spatial learning, self-awareness, and object identification, are equivalent to those of a young human child as old as three, according to the majority of studies on the subject.
Are Pigs Smart Enough to be Kept as Pets?
Absolutely. Just make sure owning a pig as a pet is legal where you live. When kept as pets, pigs are very different from dogs. Although they are caring and sociable animals, they have a tendency to act independently, thus it is important to build and nurture their trust.
Today, more people are starting to recognize the importance of pigs, and even odder creatures, as valued and treasured members of the family rather than merely food. Almost 20 years ago, the craze of adopting Vietnamese potbellied pigs frequently made national headlines. Since then, owning pigs has become less rare and more commonplace.
Are Pigs Easy to Keep as Pets?
Pigs are opportunistic omnivores, similar to dogs, and are highly driven by food and treats. Like dogs, pigs may become agitated, sad, and destructive indoors if they are neglected or bored. Pigs often tend to be particularly robust and long-lived, in contrast to dogs, which have a range of life expectancies depending on breed and size. Pigs kept as pets often live up to 20 years if given the proper care.
The fact that pigs respond well to persistent, encouraging training may surprise readers who have never had porcine companions. Indeed, a pig named Amy made news in the Pacific Northwest in 2015 for succeeding in an obedience program intended for canines, proving that pigs can be trained.
Pigs tend to have a calmer disposition than dogs do, and the latter can become irrational or unpredictable around unfamiliar people and animals. Pigs, alternatively, are socially very tolerant of both multi-pet homes. They are friendly and observant of strangers.
When it comes down to it, pigs can certainly be smarter than dogs. Hopefully with this information, more people will consider keeping pigs as pets rather than just eating them as food.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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