Suidae – Pigs & boars

The 4th most intelligent animal on the planet and far more complex than you might believe!

The Suidae family encompasses a diverse group of animals, including domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus), wild boars, warthogs, and the lesser-known deer pigs or babirusas. These species, found across various continents, from Eurasia to Africa and the Indonesian islands, showcase a range of adaptations that have allowed them to thrive in different environments.

Their remarkable snout, equipped with strong muscles and a cartilaginous disk, is central to the success of suids. This anatomical feature serves multiple purposes; it is highly sensitive and acts as a tactile tool, allowing pigs to explore their surroundings. Moreover, the snout is integral to their feeding behavior, known as “rooting,” where they dig into the soil to uncover food sources such as roots, tubers, and invertebrates. This behavior not only aids in their nutrition but also plays a significant role in the ecosystem by aerating the soil and promoting nutrient recycling.

Pigs are highly social creatures, with wild populations forming structured groups dominated by females and their offspring, known as sounders. These groups engage in collective foraging, share the responsibility of nursing piglets, and provide mutual protection against threats. The complex social interactions within these groups are facilitated by an elaborate system of communication that includes a wide array of vocalizations, body language, and scent marking. Research has identified more than 20 distinct sounds that pigs use to convey everything from contentment to distress, demonstrating their sophisticated communicative abilities.

Suids exhibit a high level of intelligence and adaptability, traits that have enabled domestic pigs to become integral parts of human agriculture and culture. They have been domesticated for thousands of years, valued for their meat, hide, and even as pets. This close association with humans has led to a variety of breeds with diverse physical and behavioral traits.