When we think of pigs we often think that they’re dirty, fat, stupid, and slow. But all of these are myths (well… pigs can be a LITTLE bit fat); pigs deserve much more loving than they get. They’re super curious, have a great sense of direction, and they can swim! They’re actually not dirty at all — they separate their toilet from where they sleep, eat and drink! Pigs are probably my favourite animal to be honest, they are much more than meets the eye, and they’re incredibly social, clever, and loving creatures. I’ve grown more fond of them the more I’ve learned about their inquisitive nature and adorable personalities. So what CAN we learn from pigs? Here are 4 lessons from pigs to remember this year.
1. Be Social!
Pigs have unique personalities and are capable of forming close bonds with other pigs (and humans!), they use over 20 recorded vocalisations to express a wide range of information, such as emotional state, or whether they’re hungry. Pigs have a deep social connection with one another, often snuggling up together to sleep — especially nose to nose. Pigs have been shown to grieve for their loved ones. Pigs also have ‘names’ for each other, mother pigs have a unique vocalisation for each one of her piglets, and they will come running to their name when called — how cute is that?! We know that being social is crucial to our health, so this year — take a leaf from a pig’s book and make an effort to spend more time off social media and BEING social this year with people around you, and go cuddle up to someone special!
2. Use Your Brains!
One thing people tend to find quite shocking about pigs is their intelligence, they are among the most intelligent species on the planet, outranked only by chimps, elephants, and dolphins. Number 4 ain’t bad! They are cleverer than 3 year old children and they’re capable of solving puzzles! They learn new things quicker than dogs do and can solve many conundrums that dog’s can’t crack! Plus, they can play video games and learn the rules of the game using joysticks “much faster than some chimpanzees” See pigs playing with joysticks and demonstrating their intelligence here:
On a slightly less positive note, pigs have been known to stage prison breaks from factory farms; figuring out how to open their pens — they break other pigs out from their pens in a show of empathetic solidarity. All power to you piggies! Focus on using your brain power to help someone else this year.
3. Appreciate your surroundings, mindfully.
One of the things I find so endearing about pigs is their enthusiasm and optimism. Videos of pigs running around having a grand old time can warm my cold heart any day of the week — they have an amazing zest for life and can brighten anyone’s day. In his book The Whole Hog, biologist Lyall Watson credits them as being , “incurable optimists” he also states “I know of no other animals [who] are more consistently curious, more willing to explore new experiences, more ready to meet the world with open mouthed enthusiasm.” They love to run around, play and get excited about just stretching their legs. Pigs are fantastic for reminding you to stop and smell the flowers and enjoy each day as it comes to its full potential. Mindfulness is a super popular craze, and it holds many benefits for reducing stress in this modern world; Try treating a mundane part of your day with ultimate curiosity and gratitude, become totally consumed by the moment using mindfulness. You’ll be surprised at how much it can help; you may even be “as happy as a pig in mud”!
4. Get your hands dirty.
In all popular quotes, we tend to regard mud as something useless, to ‘lift ourselves out of’; But pigs have found some very clever things to do with mud! They use it to wallow in of course — since they have no sweat glands, they kind of need to; and scientist have shown it’s actually a more efficient way of keeping them cool than sweat glands would be anyway! It’s a pretty “cool” behaviour in other ways too, as they can use mud as a natural sunscreen to protect their light skin, they use it as a barrier to deter insects AND they can scrape off the dried mud to keep their skin free of parasites!
So you never know what good can come out of a bad situation until you give it a go, if you feel like you’re wallowing in mud try and see if there’s anything positive you can get out of the situation; at the very least its a great time to connect mindfully with nature!! (See number 3)
Pigs are Great
I hope you’ve learned something about pigs today. I wish you all the very best this year!!