7 things you need to know before National Pig Day March 1

  • With the approach of National Pig Day March 1, porkers across the region are getting ready for their close-ups.

      With the approach of National Pig Day March 1, porkers across the region are getting ready for their close-ups. Mark Black | Staff Photographer, JULY 2017

  • Pigs such as Babe have starred in movies, books, TV shows and even cartoons. It's no wonder they're the subject of a nationwide celebration.

    Pigs such as Babe have starred in movies, books, TV shows and even cartoons. It's no wonder they're the subject of a nationwide celebration. AP photo

  • It's important for pigs to get some rest in advance of their big day.

    It's important for pigs to get some rest in advance of their big day. Daily Herald file photo

 
Posted2/27/2018 1:00 AM

Christmas is nice.

So is the Fourth of July.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

And who doesn't like Thanksgiving?

But when it comes time to party, when it comes time to celebrate, what's better than National Pig Day?

You're probably already blowing up balloons and hanging crepe paper for the annual bash on March 1 to honor our favorite bastions of the barnyard.

And because we know you'll be looking for some pig facts to share with your friends during the daylong festivities, we asked Natasha Fisher, education supervisor at Wheaton Park District's Cosley Zoo, to share some insights into the creatures that have starred on TV (Arnold, Miss Piggy), movies ("Babe"), books ("Charlotte's Web") and even cartoons (hello, Porky!).

Here's what Fisher had to say …

1. The phrase "sweating like a pig" does not actually refer to the animals. Pigs do not sweat to cool off; rather, they wade in water or mud, and those substances have a cooling effect as they evaporate off the pigs' skin. The word "pig" in this case actually refers to pig iron, which sweats as it cools during the smelting process.

2. Pigs are routinely listed as some of the world's smartest animals, with cognitive abilities on par with those of chimpanzees, dogs and dolphins.

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3. Pigs may not be able to actually fly, but they can sometimes swim. Big Major Cay in the Bahamas is known for its small population of feral pigs that frequently are observed swimming.

4. Pigs are the most prolific of the farm animals. While most farm animals have only one or a few young at a time, pigs can have more than 20 piglets per litter.

5. The gestation period of a pig is easy to remember at 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days (for a total of 114 days).

6. Pigs were first brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493, along with horses, dogs, cattle, chickens, sheep and goats.

7. Pigs communicate primarily through vocalizations and can make more than 20 different sounds, including oinks, grunts and squeals.

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