If you’ve ever wondered whether pigs can swim, you’re not alone! This seemingly bizarre question has intrigued people for years, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, pigs are typically associated with muddy pens and rolling in the dirt, not diving into bodies of water. On top of that, there seem to be some persistent urban legends about pigs and their swimming ability. That being said, the answer to this question might still surprise you. Today, we’ll explore whether or not pigs can swim, how they do it, and why it matters. Let’s get started.
Can Pigs Swim?
Pigs are excellent swimmers that can swim across rivers and streams in search of food, habitat, or safety.
Although some myths persist that pigs can’t swim, they are actually quite good at it! Pigs are natural swimmers by birth, much like dogs and other animals can swim naturally if thrown into the water. Pigs also enjoy swimming in clear water more than muddy water, contrary to their reputation for being dirty. Some pigs even swim with tourists in the Bahamas. These snorting animals can swim no matter their disposition or upbringing, meaning whether they are wild, domesticated, or pets.
5 Facts About Pigs and their Swimming Habits
Sure, pigs can swim, but is that all you really want to know? Of course not! Here is a collection of pig and water-related facts that will have you wondering why pigs aren’t swimming for the Gold in the Olympics.
1. Pigs Swim in the Bahamas with Tourists
Pigs swim in the Bahamas with tourists on several islands, such as Big Major Cay, also known as Pig Beach, in the Exumas district. The pigs are wild but friendly, and they enjoy cooling off in the Caribbean sea and getting fed by visitors (who wouldn’t?). The origin of the pigs is unclear, but some theories suggest they were left by sailors, escaped from a shipwreck, or were brought by locals for tourism. Swimming with pigs has become one of the most popular attractions in the Bahamas, and tourists can book boat tours to see them, as well as the other native wildlife that can be found in the area.
2. Pigs are Naturally Buoyant
Pigs are buoyant because they have decent-sized lungs that help increase their buoyancy. Lungs are filled with air, which is less dense than water, so they help pigs stay afloat. Pigs also have a lot of fat under their skin, which is not as dense as water. Combining these two anatamocial facts essentially means that pigs will generally be buoyant in water. Still, pigs need to paddle with their limbs for them to balance in the water and avoid sinking or flipping over like a beach ball.
3. Pigs Don’t “Cut Their Throat” While Swimming
The myth that pigs hurt their throats while swimming states that pigs “cut their throats” with their hooves or tusks when they swim, causing them to bleed and die. The myth may have originated from a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, where he wrote “Down the river did glide, with wind and with the tide / A pig, with vast celerity / And cut his own throat. Oh! The cruelty!”. However, the myth is not true, as pigs do not cut their throats while they swim. Pigs are excellent swimmers and can swim across rivers and streams without harming themselves.
4. Wallowing and Wading are Different, but May Serve the Same Purpose
Wallowing is when pigs roll and play in muddy water, usually to cool their bodies. Pigs have poor sweat glands and need to regulate their body temperature by coating their skin with mud that retains water and evaporates. Wallowing also helps pigs protect their skin from sunburn and parasites. Swimming is when pigs paddle and float in clear water, usually to enjoy themselves. Regardless, both are pretty good ways to keep a pig cool.
5. Pigs Actually ENJOY Swimming
Most pigs probably enjoy swimming because it is a natural and fun activity for them. Pigs are proficient swimmers by birth, but just because they can doesn’t mean they enjoy it. That being said, most pigs do enjoy swimming if given the opportunity in a safe environment, especially pet pigs. In fact, some websites recommend a small kiddie pool with some water to help a pet pig cool off and have fun during the summer heat.
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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