A feral pig swims off Cat Island in the Bahamas in 2008.
Image Credit: Photograph by Jim Abernethy, National Geographic Creative
by Liz Langley, National Geographic
It’s almost summertime, which means many of us will be hitting the pool or the beach for some watery fun. But we’re not the only creatures who like to make a splash.
When Dana Smith asked via Facebook, “My four-year-old wants to know, do pigs swim?” Saturday’s Weird Animal Question of the Week decided to look at some typically terrestrial animals who also like the life aquatic.
“Pigs are excellent swimmers,” crossing water to seek food sources, escape danger or find better habitat, Billy Higginbotham, of Texas A&M University.
“For example, all of the heavy rainfall the last month in Texas has caused wild pigs to move—and in some cases, swim—out of bottomland areas and seek higher ground.”
Some are even beach bums.
The Bahamas’ Big Major Cay is home to feral pigs who swim with tourists.
Aaron Shultz of the Cape Eleuthera Institute, an environmental-education center in the Bahamas, says local lore is that Europeans once stocked the islands with pigs, enabling them to resupply ships returning home.
But it’s uncertain how the animals got to Big Major Cay.
Shultz speculates that “over time the pigs associated boats, boat-engine noise, and tourists with food,” and learned to swim out to the tempting treats.