With around 1 billion individuals alive at any time, the domesticated pig is one of the most numerous large mammals on the planet. They are omnivores, which means that they consume both plants and animals. In the wild, pigs are foraging animals, primarily eating leaves, grasses, roots, fruits and flowers. A pigs nose it called it’s snout, pigs use their snout to dig into the soil to find food. The wild pig can take advantage of any forage resources. Therefore, it can live in virtually any productive habitat that can provide enough water to sustain large mammals such as pigs. The ancestor of the domesticated pig is the wild boar.
Domesticated pigs, called swine, are raised commercially for meat (generally called pork, hams, gammon or bacon), as well as for leather. Their bristly hairs are also used for brushes. Due to their common use as livestock, adult swine have gender specific names: the males are boars (or sometimes “hogs”) and the females are sows. Young swine are called piglets or pigs. Domestic pigs are fed mostly corn or pig nuts with a mixture of vitamins and minerals added to the diet. Because pigs are omnivores they make excellent pasture raised animals. Traditionally they were raised on dairy farms and called “mortgage lifters” due to their ability to use the excess milk as well as whey from cheese and butter making combined with pasture.
Pigs that are allowed to forage may be watched by swineherds. Because of their foraging abilities and excellent sense of smell, they are used to find truffles in many European countries. Both wild and feral pigs are commonly hunted. Pigs are highly social and intelligent animals, hence some breeds of pig, such as the Asian pot-bellied pig, are kept as pets.
Pigs have 44 teeth. In the male the canine teeth form tusks, which grow continuously and are sharpened by constantly being ground against each other!