Wonderful animals The first pigs appeared about 46 million years ago. One of the biggest ancient pigs was the entelodont or terminator pig. It was two metres tall at the shoulder. This big pig ate everything from plants to deer. Today the Suidae family includes pigs, babirusas, giant forest hogs, warthogs, pygmy hogs, and bushpigs. The biggest pigs are the giant hogs that live in forests in Africa. They are one metre tall at the shoulder - half the size of the terminator pig! Pygmy hogs from India are the world's smallest and most endangered pigs. There are only 150 of these 30cm tall pigs left. The pigs you see on farms are relatives of the Eurasian wild boar. They became farm animals about 9,000 years ago in the Middle East and on the mainland. Pigs are popular farm animals because they are omnivores - animals that eat plants and meat. Because pigs eat plants, roots, flowers, fruit, mushrooms, insects, reptiles, small mammals and carrion, they are easy to feed. Today there are 2 billion pigs on farms around the world. True or false? 1. The first pigs appeared in the time of the dinosaurs. 2. The first farm pigs were warthogs. 3. Pigs are omnivores: they eat everything. Babirusa Fill in the gaps with the following words: leaves and fallen fruit, boars, sunburn Babirusas live in tropical forests on Sulawesi, Togian, Sulu and Burn islands in Indonesia. Their name means 'pig-deer'. This is because the _______________ have big tusks that look like a deer's antlers. Babirusa boars live alone for most of the year. But females live in big groups with their mothers, sisters, aunts, and their young. Babirusas like to eat _______________. But they will also eat insects, small mammals and carrion. They look for food during the cool parts of the day. During the hottest part of the day, these pigs go for a mud bath. This helps them keep cool and prevents _______________. Although babirusas have few enemies, they are threatened by hunting and habitat destruction. Today there are less than 4,000 left in the world. Giant forest hogs Find words that mean the following: rough, crowd together, animals that eat plants Giant forest hogs live in tropical forests in west and central Africa. They have dark grey skin and very thick, coarse black hair. These big pigs live in family groups. Groups are made up of one to four males, one to nine females, and their young. At night the whole family cuddle up together in a big sleeping nest. Although they are very large, these pigs are herbivores that eat grass, leaves and herbs. They forage for food early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Sometimes giant forest hogs travel up to 12km a day to find food. These pigs are hunted by leopards, spotted hyenas and lions. But giant forest hogs are very brave. When one is attacked, they all rush to help - even the piglets. Warthogs Find antonyms, words that mean the opposite: far, friends, seldom Warthogs live in African forests and grasslands. They get their name from the big warts that grow near their eyes. These warts are really a defence system. Male warthogs fight over mates. They rush towards each other, and try to slash each other with their tusks. Their warts work as padding. This helps to protect their eyes from damage. Warthogs are good fighters because they have many enemies. When attacked by lions, leopards, crocodiles and hyenas, warthogs hide in underground burrows. They go in backwards, and then slash their enemies with their tusks. Warthogs are very clever. They normally look for food during the day and sleep at night. But in places where they are hunted by people, these clever pigs become nocturnal. Pigs in Hong Kong The Eurasian wild pig - the ancestor of farm pigs - lives in the forests of Hong Kong. Piglets are born with light stripes along their bodies. When they are six months old, they turn grey-black all over. Boars have tusks that curve out and up from their mouths. Adult pigs are about 90cm tall and can weigh 90kg. These wild pigs live in big groups of about 20 to 50 animals. They usually sleep during the day, and forage for food at night. If you see wild boar, stay at a distance. Wild boar can be extremely dangerous, especially if they are worried you will hurt their babies. Boars charge and slash with their tusks. Sows charge and bite. To see pigs safely, organise a school visit to a local pig farm. Most are located in the northern New Territories. fab fact! Although 'to sweat like a pig' is a common expression, pigs don't have sweat glands. To keep themselves cool, pigs roll in mud or river water fab fact! Pigs are also called hogs and swine. Female pigs are called sows. Male pigs are called boars. Baby pigs are called piglets. Groups of farm pigs are herds. Groups of wild pigs are sounders. Someone who is like a pig is porcine (pronounced pore-seen) compare! Pigs are extremely intelligent. Pet pigs learn to sit, stay, walk to heel and do tricks. Pigs can even play computer games. In tests pigs score points 80 per cent of the time. Scientists think that pigs are as clever as dogs - or maybe more so now do this Try to answer the following questions without referring to the text. 1. Giant hogs live in ... a forests in Africa b forests in Asia c forests in America 2. Babirusas are called 'pig-deer' because ... a they have spotted coats b they have long slender legs c they have big tusks 3. Warthogs have warts that ... a attract mates b protect their faces in fights c help them store fat 4. A male pig is called a ... a sounder b sow c boar 5. The world's biggest pig is the ... a babirusa b warthog c giant forest hog 6. Which animal lives in Hong Kong forests? a Eurasian wild pig b warthog c babirusa Look online for more about pigs How boars work http://animals.howstuffworks.com/mammals/boars.htm Lots of short, illustrated articles that will help you find out more about warthogs, peccaries, wild boar and pig farming. Pig farming http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/economy/pigs.htm Learn about the importance of pigs and other farm animals (including camels!) around the world. Pig breeds http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/swine Loads of pictures and short bios of dozens of pigs including the feral pigs of Arapawa Island, the Jinhua pig of Zhejiang province and more. Nat Geo Wild You can see the giant forest hog in Hidden Worlds: Africa?s Hog Heaven on Friday at 10pm and Saturday at 10am and 4pm. The babirusa can be seen in Wild Indonesia: The Mystery of Sulawesi on Saturday at 11pm, and Sunday at 11am and 5pm.