Yes, his name is Squealer, but the keepers just call him Pig! You can probably guess how he got his name, though. Pot-bellied pigs often times react by squealing when they are petted or touched. This is one reason why you might want to think twice about having a pot-bellied pig as a pet, because you will not be successful at cuddling with it like you would a dog or cat!
Pig was born in April of 2000, and was given to the museum by his original owner in January of 2001. Being 8 years old, Pig would be considered as fairly old. One of the main health issues that face older pigs is their joints, so Pig gets a daily joint supplement to try and deter the onset of arthritis.
Being a pig, you can imagine that he is not picky about food! But we still keep him on a strict diet to keep him at a decent weight and healthy. Pig’s main food is Mazuri brand mini-pig elder formula, and he eats that twice a day. Pig also gets a specific amount of a fruit or vegetable that changes daily for variety, which includes apple, carrot, sweet potato, squash, zucchini and cucumber. Around Halloween time he also receives pumpkin that our visitors donate to us.
Pig lives in our farmyard, and in the morning before we open he gets to wander around the yard to roam freely. Sometimes he stays close to the keepers that are cleaning and feeding the other farmyard animals (no doubt trying to get some food out of them!). Sometimes you can find him rooting around in some mulch or dirt, probably trying to find anything that would interest a pig.
The most common veterinary issue that we address with pig is his sensitive skin. Pink pot-bellied pigs are known to have sensitive skin, and they are easily affected by dry weather. Pig becomes itchy when the air is dry, and sometimes gets skin injuries while trying to scratch himself on trees. We have a special pig veterinarian that visits Pig regularly for his skin issues. We have tried many remedies but none of them have yet to be a perfect solution. Currently we bathe pig once a week with medicated shampoo and apply a “skin conditioner” to him, and so far it has worked well.
Pigs are highly intelligent animals. Because of this, we often times hide Pig’s food so that he has to work to get it. This not only keeps him stimulated and active, but also allows his food to double as a reward and as a good enrichment tool. Some of the ways we hide his food is by burying it in the dirt so he has to sniff and dig it out, putting it in a rolly ball that he has to push around to make it come out, or hiding it in a paper bag that he has to figure out how to open.
Below is a picture of Pig getting food out a paper bag during his morning exercise time in the farmyard.
You can read another post about Pig rooting around in a fresh pile of stonedust, or see a really adorable picture of Pig waking up on a cold morning!