Creature Feature: Squealer the pot-bellied pig

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!

7 responses to Creature Feature: Squealer the pot-bellied pig

  1. Brad says:

    Or you can see Squealer’s debut in Munch Cam on YouTube

  2. unc929498 says:

    Our family always enjoys visiting Squealer during our regular trips to the museum. Can you tell us about his relationships with the waterfowl who have shared space with him?

  3. Sherry says:

    Hi unc929498.This pig has shared his home with two waterfowl:First, there was “Goose” (who’s official name was Popeye, but we always called her goose). Goose was hatched at the museum and lived with our first pig, Bucky, and then when Bucky died, Elmo, and then, of course, Squealer.When Goose died around the age of 12, one of our keepers brought in a Muscovy Duck egg and we hatched ‘Scout’ to live with Squealer. Scout started off as a little yellow fuzzy hatchling and grew into the current duck you see today.Of all the pig-duck relationships over the years, Bucky and Goose were really quite amazing to watch together. One of the funniest sights I ever saw was walking by their pen and seeing an egg that goose had laid in her nest. Bucky was laying resting his snout on it, gently. Goose came over and sat on his snout. They stayed like that for quite some time!

  4. BRENDA says:

    The blog regarding Pig is simply adorable. He seems to be doing very well at the Museum. And, I am very happy to know that he’s given the opportunity to “work” for his food, which helps to combat boredom and keeps him intelligent!Question: In winter, does Pig require extra protection against the cold, or is his body fat good enough for him? Does the cold affect his joints?

  5. Sherry says:

    hi Brenda,In winter the pig gets extra blankets, sometimes stays inside, and we have even used heaters or heat mats in the past.As for his joints, he is on supplements year round. (Cosequin is a glucosimine product). We don’t notice any differences seasonally with his joints.

  6. buy mini pig says:

    We are excited at the prospect of providing you with a pet mini-pig! We’ve scoured the country looking for the best breeding stock (miniature and Juliana mini pigs) that money can buy.

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