5 Pig Facts That Prove They'll Rule The Earth Someday

Pigs are intelligent and resilient animals, but not if we eat them as fast as humanly possible.
5 Pig Facts That Prove They'll Rule The Earth Someday

The most inspiring human inventions ever must be footballs, oil paintbrushes, and hot dogs. Why those three? Because they all only exist thanks to pigs (specifically, in order, their skin, hair, and delicate cuts of tenderloin, which hot dog makers get as reward for grinding all those swine foreskins.) It’s inspiring because it illustrates our complete dominance over a species that has actual superpowers, not unlike elephants. For example ...

Pigs Smell Great and Scream Like Chainsaws

When thinking of “protection” that you’d need when dealing with pigs, most people would probably say something like “nose plugs” (unless you’re David Cameron, in which case you’d probably go with “condoms.”) We’ll get to the issue of pigs and cleanliness later but, for now, we’ll just point out that farm safety guides mention that if you want to raise pigs, you better get yourself some heavy-duty hearing protection devices because those walking bacon factories are loud as heck.

Imagine if the superheroes Black Bolt and Black Canary reached out to each other from across rival franchises, drawn in by their similar names and the fact that their powers are essentially “super mouth.” Their love would be passionate. Their story unforgettable. Their offspring would be pigs, who honestly wouldn’t even be the weirdest members of Bolt’s species. See, pigs may not be able to level mountains with whispers, but their squeals can be as loud as 130 decibels. That’s just slightly below the sound that a jet engine makes (~140 decibels) and way above the noise produced by chainsaws (115 decibels). Meaning that Wilbur never needed Charlotte’s help to survive. He could’ve snuck up on old man Zuckerman, yelled in his ear, and made a run for it while the guy was on the floor clutching his head and wondering why he couldn’t hear his own screams of pain. Volume up until the dial breaks off for full effect:

Pigs also smell great. As in, their sense of smell is possibly better than a dog’s. Pigs have about 1,113 functional olfactory receptor genes (close to twice as many as humans) allowing them to smell stuff up to 7 miles away and as much as 25 feet underground. Tests have shown that pigs have so sensitive noses, they recognize each other primarily by smell and can distinguish the smell of spearmint from regular mint or peppermint. And that’s despite all mint smelling the same and all of us being brainwashed into thinking otherwise so that Big Christmas can sell us more mouthwash-flavored drinks and cookies.

Of course, the main takeaway from this is the fact that pigs have the ability to smell when you smoked weed and alert the authorities with their airhorn squeals. But they never do because pigs are bros, not cops…. except that one from Hanover (yes Luise, we mean you).

Pigs Eat Clean but Love Dirty

“Eat like a pig” is one of the most universally recognized insults on the planet, second only to “disappoint your parents like a freelance writer.” But unlike the latter, the former is totally unjustified. Pigs, specifically wild boars, are actually very clean eaters. When the ones at Basel Zoo in Switzerland were given apples soiled with sand, they took them to a nearby stream so they could wash them before eating. They never did that if they were given clean apples in the first place. They just ate them.

Jozef Klopacka/Shutterstock

"We're not above eating you instead, you know."

But, like the old saying goes, you can wash sand off an apple but you can never unroll yourself from a puddle of your own crap. No animal that waddles around in its own filth could ever be called “clean.” However, that behavior is apparently mostly due to not properly cleaning out pig pens. Pigs love to roll around in stuff, yes, but they much prefer mud to feces. They have no sweat glands, so the mud helps them cool down while acting as sunscreen AND helping them remove parasites from the skin. Wallowing, as it’s properly called, is actually their version of staying CLEAN, which technically makes it a form of “mudding,” a high-class hobby enjoyed by some of the best lawyers in the world.

This doesn’t mean that pigs are neat-freaks, though. They’re still freaks, mind; they just prefer getting dirty while getting dirty. It’s probably a myth that a pig can orgasm for half an hour because science never got around to testing that claim, despite how much David Cameron volunteered to be a part of that research (last one, we promise.) But one study did discover that “high performance boars” can ejaculate, on average, for 6 minutes. The operative word here is “on average” because it hides the emasculating truth that, in the study, one boar totally messed up the curve by firehosing the scientists’ lab for 31 minutes straight. Think about that (but not too vividly).

A pig is capable of ejaculating during the whole act of two humans doing it, from the time they take off their clothes throughout he swearing that it never happened to him before, right up until her getting an Uber and lying that she will call him. Imagine all that but, somewhere, a pig is slinging bone broth the entire time.

Pigs Can Survive in Just About Any Environment So Were Often Left on Deserted Islands

Since the 1800s, tens of thousands of native animals were systematically slaughtered on the Galapagos Islands. In 1997, a massive effort was undertaken to rid the archipelago of the remorseless killer terrorizing them. It took 10 years, over $10 million, and involved the latest tracking technology and specialized helicopter snipers from New Zealand. Who was their target? Some unholy hybrid of the Predator and that one cat that wiped out an entire bird species all on its own? An iguana with a machine gun? Holy crap, did the fabled cocaine bear swim to the Galapagos?

Nope. The culprits were pigs (and goats). Centuries ago, the invasive species started wreaking havoc on the islands after being left to roam free there by sailors and pirates who wanted something to eat in case they ever got stranded there and weren’t in the mood for the Galapagos giant tortoises. Which just goes to show you that old-timey seamen had no balls because after Charles Darwin arrived at the Galapagos, he had no problems dining on the tortoises AND drinking the contents of their bladder, which he described as “very slightly bitter.” Then again, as a sidenote, Darwin kind of had a thing for eating exotic animals, having not only tasted TMNT’s cousins but also pumas, iguanas, and armadillos.

Julia Margaret Cameron/Wikimedia Commons

Pictured: The Fittest, apparently.

But back to the pigs. This idea of leaving pigs behind on uninhabited islands was kind of the norm for a really long time. The Auckland Islands, an archipelago of New Zealand, had a mass of pigs released on them at least three times in the 19th century to provide emergency food for shipwrecks or ship crews. The animals didn’t need anyone to look after them because pigs are incredibly adaptive. Their habitat can be tropical or subarctic and they’ll still make it work. While they prefer to mostly eat vegetation, they will snack on just about anything, from small mammals to lizards, eggs, and more. Water? Pigs have been observed to thrive while living as much as a day’s walk from water, while many of us would die of dehydration if they moved the water cooler to a different floor.

Pigs Are So Smart, They Can Play Video Games and Lie

The more you read about the kind of things pigs are capable of, the more you start to suspect that bacon is so tasty because we subconsciously know it comes from a species that’s, frankly, uncomfortably smart. After all, nothing tastes better than the profane destruction of a thinking mind, right? Right? Anyone? So just us, huh.

Anyway, we talked before about a zookeeper who observed warthogs using the scientific method to figure out a way to get through the electric fence around their enclosure, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A study from Purdue University has proven that pigs can be trained to play video games. It might take a while before they’re able to speed-run Dark Souls but for now, with food used as a reward, a trio of pigs have learned to operate a joystick, understanding that its movements corresponded to a cursor on the screen. They then got that colliding the cursor with a target meant a win and snack time for them. With enough practice and time, it’s possible to one day introduce the pigs to Angry Birds and delight in the look of disappointment on their little faces as they realize they are the bad guys in the game. Again, just us? Bunch of goody two-shoes, the lot of you.

Then again, since pigs are so smart, they’d probably hide their hurt from us to lull us into a false sense of security and retaliate when we least expect it. It wouldn’t be hard since once study suggests that pigs could be capable of deceit. Michael Mendel, a professor of animal behavior at the University of Bristol, set up an experiment where he trained little pigs to locate food and big pigs to follow the small ones and take their food from them (yes, Mendel literally trained a piggy to go to market.) Eventually, the smaller pig got tired of doing all the work for no reward and started to get sneaky, only going for the food when the bigger pig wasn’t looking or was going in another direction.

It’s still unclear if this was a conscious attempt at “deceit” from the pig but, if it was, it points to the very real and exciting opportunity to one day make a movie about a pig winning a million dollars by playing online poker and have it say “based on a true story” in the opening credits.

Pigs Are One of the Most Destructive Forces of Nature on the Planet

Mid-2019 was a simpler, happier time. Without COVID hanging over our heads, we had the mental energy to laugh at the guy who sincerely defended assault rifles on Twitter by asking how was he supposed to protect his children from the “30-50 feral hogs” that apparently invade his yard every day. How we laughed and mocked him … but it turns out he was totally right to worry. Feral pigs/hogs are considered, without a shred of hyperbole, THE most destructive invasive species in the United States.

Every year, they cause close to $2.5 billion dollars in damages because while pigs like to eat clean, they also like to eat a lot. A single wild pig can destroy an acre of crops overnight, and even when they stick to vegetation, they dig up roots to make sure nothing ever grows back in its place. But the real problem is that pigs are the total opposite of picky-eaters. See, most invasive species are specialists. They stick to ruining one thing like a particular type of potato or corn. Not pigs. Their hatred for life does not discriminate. If it’s organic, they’ll pig out on it. Sadly, this also often includes baby sea turtles. Not just eggs. Necropsies have often found feral hog stomachs full of little Squirts. (Granted, blowing your load for over 30 minutes would leave anyone feeling a little peckish.)

And the thing is, this entire situation it’s mostly America’s own fault. It started with colonizers introducing pigs to the continent for hunting, then bringing in wild boars. The two mated to create what one scientist referred to as a “super pig.” That’s why America’s feral hogs are bigger, stronger, smarter, and spawn more frequently than other kind of swine. As a result, the US had to resort to downright supervillain tactics to deal with the super pig menace. In Texas, where the animals cause nearly half a billion worth of damage each year, killing feral hogs with semiautomatic weapons from helicopters has become a popular sport. Then again, it is Texas, so if it wasn’t pigs, it’d probably be gophers or something.

Budimir Jevtic/Shutterstock

From helicopter because the pigs may fire back.  It is Texas, after all.

That doesn’t mean we don’t fully support their War on Pork. Though it is rare, feral pigs have been known to kill humans, and have destroyed a F-16 jet after the plane collided with them on the runway. Yes, pigs have literally caused more damage to the US military than some countries. And they’re spreading to a wider and wider territory. Initially, “experts” didn’t worry about it because they thought the pigs would eventually get to winter climates and die out. The fools. The cold does not bother feral pigs because they can now build “pigloos” – underground tunnels with snow on top that acts like insulation. So, in conclusion, we welcome our future porcine overlords and would like to remind them as trusted internet personalities, we can be helpful in rounding up other humans to toil away on potato farms.

Follow Cezary on Twitter.

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