ExoticDirect provide pet insurance for micro-pigs, parrots, reptiles including tortoises, small mammals and other exotic-y pets.
1. Micropigs aren’t really pigs!
Though they have a few different names (micropigs, miniature pigs, teacup pigs), they aren’t really miniature. Most are simply potbellied pigs that are naturally smaller than domestic farm pigs. The latter can weigh several hundred kilos. Micropigs when young, however, usually weigh around 30 kilos. Aww!
Teacup pigs can get bigger than expected as they grow
2. But they can get bigger than you’d expect
Teacup pigs can actually grow to a reasonable size upon reaching adulthood. They can grow up until the age of about five years old, and can reach 50 kilos or more. So be careful if you get one, because they’ll need a decent amount of room to be happy and healthy.
Check out How to care for a pet pig
3. Miniature pigs are early bloomers
Part of why people perceive micropigs as so tiny is because they can breed at a relatively young age—around three months. This means breeders may get you to look at the parents of a micropig you’re planning on adopting to convince you of their size. Remember if this happens that your pig can still reach 50 kilos and grow much bigger than when you bought it. It may not be a case of like father like son!
Pigs can be smarter than dogs and chimpanzees
4. Pigs are smarter than you’d expect
Though that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be able to help you with your homework! Recent studies have suggested pigs can outsmart dogs and even chimpanzees. They’ve been observed completing mazes and recognising symbols, and they have excellent long term memory.
They’re also empathetic animals which learn from one another and have complex social lives, with some studies showing them play fighting with one another in much the same way as dogs do.
5. But it’s not just mazes
Miniature pigs can even be potty trained. That’s right—you can train them in much the same way as a dog or a cat by using positive reinforcement to go to the toilet outside or in a litter tray.
Contrary to popular belief, pigs are relatively clean animals. This means you should place their litter tray away from where they sleep and eat.
However, a pig that hasn’t been spayed or neutered will be very difficult to potty train. You can spay female pigs between four and six months of age, although this can be done earlier, and neuter male pigs between two and three months. If you don’t do this, pigs tend to urinate all over the place in an attempt to attract a mate. From experience, most people don’t want pig wee all over their homes!
Check out our vet fee cover for your Micro-pig!
6. They’re good with other animals—but not all of them
If you’ve got a cat, you’re in luck—pigs very often make good friends with them. This is especially true if they were reared together. If your miniature pig is new to the home, however, your cat may act timidly or otherwise, so it’s important to be careful.
While it’s not out of the question, generally dogs and pigs don’t get on well with one another. Pigs are defined as prey, and dogs as predators, and as such have a hate-hate relationship.
However, in both of these cases, the personality of the animal obviously has a large impact on the outcome. Remember in any case it’s important to supervise your animals while they’re together, just in case anything does happen. (And remember, if it’s a dog vs a micropig, the dog is going to win nine times out of ten!)
7. A micro pig isn’t just for Christmas
Although micropigs mature early, this doesn’t mean they necessarily have short lifespans. Generally full grown by between three and five years, a micropig is regarded as ‘old’ by the age of 10. However, if you keep good care of your pig, making sure to take it for regular vet checkups, give it a good diet and enough exercise, it could live for 15 years or more.
On top of this, you need to remember that owning an animal can be costly after you’ve taken into account food, vet bills and insurance. So make sure you’re ready for the commitment before you adopt one!
8. And they might need some TLC as they grow up
Older teacup pigs especially can suffer from a range of illnesses, most of which are common to all pigs. For instance, pigs don’t have particularly good eyesight in the first place (though their other senses are comparatively good), and they may develop problems with their vision as they grow older.
Older pigs also often suffer from arthritis. However, you can get joint supplements that can ease discomfort for your pig.
9. They might have their own tv show soon
Micropigs have garnered a lot of attention in recent years as they seem to have become a relatively ‘fashionable’ pet to have. Victoria Beckham and Paris Hilton both owned miniature pigs, the popular American sitcom How I Met Your Mother featured a teacup pig, and there have even been Youtube celebrity pigs that have gone viral with millions of views.
But what goes up must come down, and micropigs will eventually stop being fashionable. It’s important not to get sucked up in the hype and adopt an animal you then realise you can’t care for. Lots of pigs end up in homes from families that either weren’t able to properly attend to them or simply decided they didn’t want them. Remember that getting any animal is a commitment that takes hard work and a lot of love and care, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
10. Finally, they’re not only cute—they’re fun too
We’ve seen that they’re sweet animals (even when they get bigger!) and that they can be trained not to defecate in the house. But that’s not all they can do! Micropigs can be taught to do tricks in the same way a dog can—and in fact, because they are so intelligent, teaching them is important in order to give them structure and discipline.
Just like a dog, you can teach your micropig to come when its name is called, to sit, to shake its hooves, and to stay. Once they get used to being trained, you can even get them to do obstacle courses and complete tasks for treats.
It’s important to note that pigs are four legged animals, and they can hurt themselves if trained to walk on their hind legs. It’s almost always better to let them keep all four hooves on the ground, to maintain a happy and healthy miniature pig. (And remember, they’re not really miniature!)