Garanimals Blog

April 11th, 2012 at 7:13 am

Three Little Piggies: Potbellies, Micros, and Micro Nanos

(Family disclaimer: Just in case my children get the wrong idea from this post, the closest our personal family will ever get to owning a pig for a pet is to reread Charlotte’s Web.)

That said, lots of people are interested in pet piggies, especially little pigs, and they sure are cute. Pigs are highly intelligent, trainable, and clean. They are friendly and social, and can get along well with other pets.

Expect to pay about the same for a pet pig as you would for a purebred dog. Typically, the smaller the breed of pig, the more expensive. Be sure to check out the breeder, since trendy pets always bring out unscrupulous sellers.

Before you even consider a pig as a pet, however, you must check your local ordinances. For example, our city code specifically prohibits the keeping of “swine” (that’s right, even cute little nano pigs are considered “swine”) within city limits, and breaking this law can result in fines of up to $750. (Here is a handy list of exotic pet laws by state, but be sure to check local ordinances, too.)

A few other things to think about before you think (piggy) pink:

  • Most kennels do not take pigs, so if you travel you would have to hire a pig sitter.
  • Pigs need a lot of supervision; they can be destructive and will try to eat everything.
  • You will need to find a veterinarian that knows how to care for pigs. (Spaying/neutering is highly recommended; plus they need special vaccinations and hoof trimming.)
  • High intelligence means pigs need lots of interaction and stimulation or they risk becoming depressed. Signs of depression include destructive behavior, lethargy, and repetitive movements.

Potbellied Pigs

Potbellied pigs have been domesticated for more than 10,000 years, but the current potbellied pet pig craze began in the late ‘80s when they were first imported into the US. While potbellied pigs are much smaller their farmyard cousins, small is relative. Most pet pigs are female. A full-grown commercial sow weighs about 800 pounds; a full-grown potbellied sow weighs about 90 pounds.

Potbellied facts:

Micro Pigs

Micro pigs have been selectively bred to be smaller than potbellied pigs. They have become popular among celebrities and inbreeding is a problem.

Micro pig facts:

  • Live 15+ years
  • 40-65 pounds
  • 12-14 inches high

Nano Micro Pigs

Nano micro pigs—sometimes called “Teacup” pigs—are the latest thing, bred to be even smaller than the micro pigs. Again, inbreeding can be a serious problem, so do your research. And remember, while they might fit into a teacup as piglets, these smallest of the piggies can still grow to 20 pounds.

Micro Nano pig facts:

  • Live 15+ years
  • 10-20 pounds
  • 12-14 inches high

Related Picture Books

Pigs Aplenty! Pigs Galore! by David McPhail
Olivia by Ian Falconer

Photo credit: Molly Bearman

Susan Bearman also writes at Two Kinds of PeopleMike&Ollie: 24-weekers Who Beat the Odds and The Animal Store Blogas well as being a regular contributor to The Chicago Moms and Technorati.

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