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The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animale, neuter of animalis, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. In everyday colloquial usage, the word usually refers to non-human animals. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the Kingdom Animalia. Therefore, when the word "animal" is used in a biological context, humans are included.
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About Pigs

Posted by WishbonE at 12:50 AM

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pigs / Hogs / Swine

Pigs, also called hogs or swine, are ungulates which have been domesticated as sources of food, leather, and similar products since ancient times. More recently, they have been involved in biomedical research and treatments, especially for their eyes and hearts, which closely resemble those of humans. The adult female is called a sow. The adult male is called a boar. A baby is called a piglet.Pigs vary in color from brown, black, white, to pinkish. Some wild pigs have large tusks, overgrown teeth used for fighting and digging for food.
Diet: Pigs are omnivores (eating plants and meat). They eat a variety of plants and small animals (like worms and snakes).
Classification: Class Mammalia, Order Artiodactyla (even-toed hoofed mammals), Family Suidae (8 species of pigs).

Pigs are very adaptable animals that eat many different foods and live in a variety of environments. Pigs were domesticated (tamed from wild animals) thousands of years ago. They are farmed for their meat and hides (leather). There are still many wild pigs, like the wild boar, the warthog, and the bushpig. Pigs are found on every continent on Earth except Antarctica. 6 million years ago, the first pigs lived in Europe and perhaps other places in the world. They were tamed 8,000 years ago during the Stone Age. Pigs were brought to North America on ships in the 1500’s from Spain and England by colonists and explorers. In the United States until the mid 1940’s, pigs were classified by percentage of fat into lard-type (more fat) and bacon-type (less fat). When shortenings and petroleum products replaced lard, farmers began raising only meat hogs.
A pig has a snout for a nose, small eyes, and a small tail, which may be curly, kinked, or straight. It has a thick body, short legs, and coarse hair. There are four toes on each foot, with the two large middle toes used for walking.

Pigs are omnivores, which means that they consume both plants and animals. Pigs will scavenge and have been known to eat any kind of food, including dead insects, worms, tree bark, rotting carcasses, garbage, and even other pigs. In the wild, they are foraging animals, primarily eating leaves and grasses, roots, fruits and flowers.
For most of us, the thought of pigs conjure images of dirty, greedy animals living in their own waste. We couldn't be more wrong! Pigs don't perspire, and so wallow in mud to keep themselves cool. They are naturally very clean animals and, if given the choice, they prefer to cool themselves down in fresh water. When in a natural environment, pigs build communal nests and toilet areas away from their sleeping area.
Pigs develop highly complex social structures and form strong bonds with other members of their group. At the age of around 3 weeks, piglets begin to play with other piglets, and for the majority of weeks thereafter will interact more with each other than with other members of their herd. It is during this time of play and interaction that strong bonds are formed, often lasting the duration of their lives.
Most of a pig's day is spent foraging and eating. The end of their snout contains has many tactile receptors as the human hand, and is a highly specialised and sensitive tool. This, along with their exceptional sense of smell, enables pigs to locate and uncover tasty treats such as seeds, roots, and truffles. Unlike dogs or humans, pigs never dangerously overeat-even when given access to unlimited food.

Pigs are affectionate, protective, playful, intelligent and social animals who suffer tremendously within intensive farming systems.
In the movie "Babe", the piglet was played by over 30 different piglets they outgrew the part so quickly during the production of the film. They’re fat, fabulous and fictional. But they’re famous! Pigs in movies and television have been popular entertainment ever since cartoon character Porky Pig first stuttered “Th-th-that’s all folks!”
Arguably, one of the most popular pigs (at least in her mind), is Muppets diva Miss Piggy, the perennial girlfriend of Kermit, the Frog.

A Taiwanese scientists were able to genetically modify a litter of pigs with jellyfish DNA so that they would fluoresce green and glow in the dark. Though the visual results are striking enough to justify the experiment, the true reasoning behind the experiment is to show that stem cells can be tagged with the same fluorescent molecules allowing their growth and development to be easily observed and studied.
Regardless of what you feed a pig it must have water to survive. The importance of the pig's access to water cannot be over stressed because pigs don't sweat like humans do so the only way they can get rid of their salt is through their urine. If the pig does not get enough water passed through the kidneys then it can die from salt poisoning. Over the years I've used many types of water feeder but recently I've found that a controlled feeder dish is a great way to get water to the pig without wasting it due to the pig tipping the water dish over.
Pigs are susceptible to bronchitis, parasites and pneumonia so they right injections. They have small lungs in relation to body size; for this reason, bronchitis or pneumonia can kill a pig quickly.
Pigs can be aggressive and pig-induced injuries are relatively common in areas where pigs are reared or where they form part of the wild or feral fauna.

Smarter than Dogs? Pigs are remarkably intelligent creatures thought by many to be smarter than dogs. They can be trained to respond to simple voice commands, and are easily toilet trained. Studies have revealed that pigs have a long memory and are able to focus on specific tasks even better than some primates. Research conducted at Bristol University found that pigs are cleverly competitive with other members of their herd, and to avoid confrontation will wait until nobody is looking to sneak away hidden food. "This sort of behaviour suggests that pigs can compete with each other in quite complex and 'cerebral' ways," says Dr Mendl of Bristol University.

Pigs as pets
Pigs are extremely smart animals and having one as a house pet requires some preparation. Pig proofing the house as one would for a toddler is a must. Due to their rooting behaviour during their young and adolescent years, books, newspapers and loose materials will often find their way in front of the pigs' nose to create a bedding area.
Pot-bellied pigs are frequently kept as exotic pets in the United States and other Western nations. They are intelligent and easy to train to perform tricks for a food reward. Many pig owners walk their pets on leashes using a harness. Pigs can use a large modified litter box or modified mortar box just like a cat with no formal training, but if one has a yard, they are more easily trained to going outside than most dogs.
Unfortunately, pigs do not like to be held or "cuddled," like dogs, cats or other domesticated predators, like ferrets. These animals are carried and otherwise "handled" as young in their mothers' mouths. In contrast, the wild ancestors of pot-bellied pigs were prey of much larger animals, and not mouthed by their mothers. Therefore, attempts by humans at lifting or hugging are always interpreted by the pig as hostile and result in struggling and squealing. The one time pigs, by instinct, will welcome close contact is to huddle while sleeping, an instinct which conserves body heat and provides protection. So apart from contact by snouting, human owners usually have to settle for acceptance of affectionate contact when the animals sleep. This quirk makes pot-bellied pigs less than ideal pets for children, who usually insist on showing their affection through hugging and handling.

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