What you Should Know Before Buying a Pot Belly Pig
So, you're thinking about adopting or buying a pot belly pig? Well, before you make any definite decisions there is a lot to think about. In this hub I shall attempt to highlight some of the crucial areas you will need to consider before going out and grabbing that cute little fella.
Pot belly pigs originated in the jungles of Vietnam and China where they were domesticated long before being introduced to the western world. Pigs have always been held in somewhat high esteem in East Asian culture, but in the west many of us still imagine them to be grotesque, smelly, dirty animals. That couldn't be further from the truth.
A few of the stereotypical images people have of pigs include
- They sweat a lot (In actual fact pot belly pigs are incapable of sweating)
- They smell bad (pot belly pigs give off no body odour whatsoever)
- They are dirty (wrong again! Pot belly pigs are extremely clean and under normal circumstances will only ever use one corner of their pen to toilet)
- They eat a lot (No defence on that one, it's absolutely true!)
In terms of size, the pot belly pig is a very sturdy, almost stumpy animal with its short legs, pendulous body and swayed back. They tend to have a snout slightly longer than other pigs owing to their keen sense of smell, but they can vary from short and fat, to long and somewhat elegant. They will grow continually from birth until they are at least 2 years old and in some cases 3. A healthy, 3 year old purebred can be anywhere from roughly 80 to 170 pounds and anywhere between 13 and 26 inches in height. Please bear in mind that although those numbers sound pretty big, pot bellied pigs are very dense, solid animals and a pig of 100 pounds may only be the size of a 60 pound dog.
As already mentioned, pot belly pigs have an excellent sense of smell, as is proven by their use to sniff out culinary delights such as truffles and their use by law enforcement agencies the world over to sniff out concealed drugs. Their hearing is also of a high standard but their vision is very poorly developed.
Pot Belly Pig Behaviour
Naturally extremely sociable, pot belly pigs would usually live in a group with a distinct pecking order in place. This hierarchy is brought about and maintained by body and verbal language. In a domestic situation, the pot belly pig remains a sociable creature but the pecking order must be established by you. If you fail to do this your pig will think it rules the roost and you will be left fighting a never ending battle. The earlier you establish this pecking order the easier your life will be!
Due to their sociable demeanour, if your pot belly pig is going to be left alone for large amounts of time you may want to consider getting a pair. If left without either human interaction or another animal pot belly pig's will become restless and bored. This can manifest itself in a number of ways such as large amounts of noise, a seemingly endless amount of energy and need for attention when you are around and in extreme cases even destruction of furniture, although that is very rare.
They are also extremely intelligent creatures. Man ranks them as the fifth most intelligent species on the planet behind only Humans, Monkeys, Dolphins and Whales. They possess an incredible memory, great instinct and an amazing sense of intuition. Although they do not have an innate sense of right or wrong, nor would they appear to have a conscience, their incredible memory means that they will not forget what you teach them. If you say No to something, they will remember and if they do it again it is purely a case of them testing you to try to find a weak spot! Beware of this, because if they find it, they WILL exploit it.
They are also very affectionate pets and will quite happilly sleep in your bed if given the chance. Apparantley, they don't tend to steal all the duvet for themselves either!
Finding the Right Pot Belly Pig
Buying a pot belly pig should NEVER be an impulse purchase, much the same as any other pet. You must really think long and hard about the nature of a pig and what your responsibi;ities will be as an owner. I suppose if you have read this far down you really are serious, but still, take some time to familiarize yourself with what it will mean for you and your family. What will it mean to your daily routines? What will you do with him when you go on holiday? Is there a vet nearby that can deal with pot belly pig's? If after considering all the above and much more besides you have decided to go ahead then you will need to find a reputable breeder or adoption center.
The old adage "you get what you pay for" really does apply here. Sure, you can go down the route of buying an unregistered, uncivilised, mismanaged crossbred and probably unhealthy pig but you wont be doing yourself any favours. At face value it will appear you are saving a small fortune, but in the long run vet's fees, medication and not to mention the heartache will soon make your pig a very unwise purchase.
It is much, much safer to buy from a reputbale breeder. You will be guaranteed to get a healthy, well managed, sociable and registered animal, not to mention you will have made a very valuable contact in the pig world, someone you can return to for advice and tips on all aspects of helping your pig live a long, healthy and fun filled life.
Bringing him Home
So, you read this hub, read countless other web pages and books, talked to some people in the know and finally found the perfect addition to your family. For the ride home I would definitely recommend putting piglet in a portable kennel, cage or similar enclosure. Some breeders will work with the piglet to de-sensitize him before you go and pick him up. If not, you will most likely have a very loud drive home, but better that than a piglet scared, loose and jumping around. Not only is that distressing and dangerous for the animal, it has the potential to cause a terrible accident. Besides, you might as well get him used to it, hes going to have to go in one at some point in his life.
If you hadn't already gone out and found a local vet who has experience with pot bellied pig's now is the time. Speak with the breeder and see if he has any recommendations, but whatever you do, don't put this off any longer. You really should be getting your pig checked over within the first week to make sure he is in good general health. this will also serve to open up a relationship with your vet. If you don't do this and your pig falls ill you could be putting his life in danger.
To sum up, owning a pot belly pig is an absolute pleasure, but only if you are willing to put some time and effort into him. If you are the results are tremendously rewarding and you will have a friend for life.
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