10 Fast Facts for the Potbellied Pig

By PetMD Editorial on Oct. 30, 2008

While a potbellied pig is not as exotic as a Tasmanian devil (no, not the one from the Saturday morning cartoons), it certainly is not as common as a cat or dog. So if you are toying with the idea of getting one -- or just plain old curious -- here are 10 facts you should know about potbellied pigs.


  1. They are very sensitive to the sun. It is not as if they need sunscreen spread all of their body, but because they have very little hair on their bodies, you will have to keep an eye on your potbellied pig (and provide plenty of shade) while it is outside. In the wild, potbellied pigs wallow in the mud to protect their skin.
  2. They are related to your morning bacon. Potbellied pigs are actually a sub-species of the farmyard pig and wild boar. So ix-nay on the acon-bay, am-hay, and ork-pay (Pig Latin for bacon, ham, and pork) while little piggy is around. It will keep your conscience guilt free.
  3. Glasses might not be such a bad idea. Potbellied pigs have dismal eyesight. Still, you probably will not be able to sneak up on them, though, as their sense of hearing and smell are exceptional. All the better to hear you opening the fridge door and guess what delicious treats you have in there, we suppose.
  4. A potbellied pig would be a shoe-in for Miss Congeniality year after year; they are some of the most social creatures. Potbellied pigs like to form big herds in the wild, mainly as a form of protection. In your home, however, one potbellied pig will most likely suffice. Just make sure you have time and energy to give your pig.
  5. They are usually black. This helps them with the lack of hair situation. More pigmentation means less sun damage. But let’s keep them away from the beach; potbellied pigs prefer mud pits like their flat-nosed counterparts, anyways.
  6. They look different to the “regular” pig. And not just in skin color. Potbellied pigs have longer snouts, straighter tails, and more upright ears. The potbelly? Well, they have that, too, of course.
  7. Potbellied pigs love soil. This is not only for the pig's enjoyment but to fulfill its natural instinct. Soil and grass also have important nutrients the pig requires. So even if you do not like rolling in the mud, let piggy.
  8. They are smart. Training a potbellied pig is very much like training a puppy. You can even take your potbellied pig to obedience school.
  9. No hugging. Unfortunately, pigs do not like to held or cuddled. Because they are such large creatures as infants, potbellied pigs are not “handled” or carried in their mother's mouths like other domesticated animals. Therefore, any attempt at lifting or hugging is frequently interpreted by the pig as a hostile action. Potbellied pigs do like “snouting” with their human owners, though.
  10. Do not forget to vaccinate. Potbellied pigs need their shots like any other pet, so check in with your vet and follow their instructions. Oh, and don't forget to enjoy the pig!

Featured image: iStock.com/neoblues

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