Scientific Name: Sus scrofa
Although they only started to be imported from Asia in 1985, pot-bellied pigs have become so popular that there are now more pot-bellied pigs in the United States than anywhere else in the world!
Contrary to the belief that pigs are simply filthy animals, pot-bellied pigs love mud baths because they help the pig in many ways. This practice, known as “wallowing,” helps to keep the pig’s body cool, as pigs need help from the mud because they aren’t able to sweat. Wallowing leaves the pigs covered in a layer of cold, wet mud, helping to moisten their dry skin, protects them from sunburn, and keep insects away.
STATUS: Pot-bellied pigs are considered domesticated animals. They are primarily used for food, but are becoming increasingly popular as pets.
HABITAT: Since domestication, pot-bellied pigs live on farms and even in backyards as family pets.
DIET: Pot-bellied pigs are omnivores, meaning they eat just about everything. Their diet consists of leafy greens, wild vegetables, shrubs, roots, grasses, and fallen nuts, as well as insects, small snakes, and eggs. Domesticated pigs also eat pig chow, cereal, carrots, and apples. Pot-bellied pigs adapt easily to new foods and will “pig out” on almost any food they can find!
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Although they are named for their enormous bellies, full grown pot-bellied pigs weigh an average of only 70-150 pounds. They have a straight tail, upright ears, and a longer snout than a regular domestic pig, as well as a rounded tummy. Pot-bellied pigs range in coloring from solid black to solid white, but are often a dark grayish, sometimes spotted mix of the two.
Pigs as Pets
Due to their special personalities and exotic allure, pot-bellied pigs have become a popular pet in the United States over the last twenty years. Pigs are intelligent and can be trained to use a litter box, and many pet pig owners walk their pigs around their neighborhood with harnesses and dog leashes.