Location in Zoo
Lifestyle and Lifespan
A small breed of swine unique to the United States, they weigh 150-300 pounds and are 15-20 inches tall when fully grown. They are usually black in color. They have upright ears, a hairy coat, and a curly tail. Also known as the Pineywoods Guinea, Guinea Hog, Acorn Eater, and Yard Pig. There are various theories as to their history, but the original breed most likely originated on the Guinea coast of Africa and arrived in the U.S. in conjunction with the slave trade. These 'Red Guineas' were large and square with reddish hair, but the breed combined with other breeds and disappeared as a distinct population. The name occurred later, describing a small black hog common on homesteads throughout the Southeast. Guinea Hogs were expected to forage for their own food, i.e. eat rodents and other small animals, grass, roots, and clean out garden beds. They produced the hams, bacon and lard essential for subsistence farming.
Pigs have a tremendous sense of smell. The large round disk of cartilage at the tip of the snout is connected to muscle that give it extra flexibility and strength for rooting in the ground. The saliva of Guinea Hogs contains pheromones
American Guinea Hogs, also known as Guinea Forest Hogs, are now found on small farms and large ranches throughout the US.
Found in the United States, usually as pets rather than being raised commercially.
Omnivorous. Pigs will eat fungi, tubers, bulbs, green vegetation, grains, nuts, cultivated crops, invertebrates, small vertebrates, and carrion.
Guinea Hogs make sure their bathroom is very far from where they eat, lie down and rest; even piglets will find a place to go to the bathroom that is far from their nest.- Guinea Hogs do not sweat a lot, that's why they cover themselves in mud
Pigs are incredibly social animals. When kept in a group they will snuggle close to one another, and prefer to sleep nose-to-nose.
Female pigs have an estrous cycle of 21 days, are receptive for 2-3 days and have one litter annually. Gestation period is 100-140 days and a litter is usually 4-8 but may include as many as 12. Piglets are weaned after 3-4 months and leave the mother prior to the birth of the next litter. Young females may stay with the mother. Sexual maturity is reached at 8-10 months but females do not mate until 18 months and males cannot compete successfully until around 5 years of age.
Found only in the domestic state and considered a rare breed. The breed was once the most numerous pig breed found on small farms in the Southeast, but today there are fewer than 200. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) classifies Guinea Hogs as critical on the Conservation Priority List.
American Guinea Hogs are a critically rare breed of pig that is unique to North America. The original stock for the breed, over the last 200-300 years, developed through adaptation and crossbreeding with Appalachian English pigs to create an American original. There were commonly found on homesteads in the south eastern US.
Despite their reputation, pigs are not dirty animals. They're actually quite clean. The pig's reputation as a filthy animal comes from its habit of rolling in mud to cool off. Pigs that live in cool, covered environments stay very clean!
Pigs were among the first animals to be domesticated, about 6,000 years ago in China!
Pigs are very intelligent animals. According to the Humane Society, pigs are smarter than 3-year old children. Domesticated pigs can even be trained to do tricks, and even use a litter box like a cat.
Pigs are very useful to the medical industry. Pigs' hearts are used as replacements for human hearts. Also, insulin and around 40 other medicines are made from pigs!
Pigs' genetic makeup is very close to our own. Because of this, stem cells from pigs are being used by scientists to research cures for human diseases. To track the cells once they've been injected, Chinese geneticists have crossed a pig with a jellyfish, producing piglets whose tongues and snouts glow fluorescent green in UV light.
Think that pigs are slow and lumbering? As it turns out, they're not at all! Adult pigs can run at speeds of up to 11 mph, or in other words, they can run a 7-minute mile. Can you?
Internet: American Livestock Breeds Conservancy; Oklahoma State University
Nowak, Ronald. Walker's Mammals of the World. 1999. Johns Hopkins Univ.
American Guinea Hog Association (AGHG). 2017. http://guineahogs.org/history-of-guinea-hogs/