Many people who know pigs compare them to dogs because they are friendly, loyal, and intelligent. Pigs are naturally very clean and avoid, if at all possible, soiling their living areas. When given the chance to live away from factory farms, pigs will spend hours playing, lying in the sun, and exploring their surroundings with their powerful sense of smell. They are social, playful, protective animals who bond with each other, make beds, relax in the sun, and cool off in the mud.
Since most people are not that familiar with pigs, you may be surprised to learn that they dream, recognize their names, play video games more effectively than some primates, and lead social lives of a complexity previously observed only in primates.
People who run animal sanctuaries often describe pigs with human characteristics, because they’ve learned that, like humans, pigs enjoy listening to music, playing with soccer balls, and getting massages.
Pigs form complex social units and learn from one another in ways previously observed exclusively among primates.
Pigs communicate constantly with one another. More than 20 of their oinks, grunts, and squeals have been identified for different situations, from wooing their mates to expressing, “I’m hungry!”
Newborn piglets learn to run to their mothers’ voices, and mother pigs sing to their young while nursing.
Pigs are actually very clean animals. If given sufficient space, pigs will be careful not to excrete near where they sleep or eat. Pigs don’t “sweat like pigs”; they are actually unable to sweat. Pigs like to bathe in water or mud to keep cool.
Like dogs, piglets learn their names by 2 to 3 weeks of age and respond when called.
Pigs have been known to save the lives of others, including their human friends.