In this brief guide, we’ll address the query: “Do pigs eat humans?” Also, we’ll explore what makes up a pig’s diet, where pigs originated from, and what is the role of wild pigs in the environment?
Do pigs eat humans?
Yes, there have been instances in which the consumption of human remains by pigs has been reported. These attacks occurred in highly unusual circumstances, such as handlers being incapacitated and therefore unable to escape or find their way to safety.
However, pigs, especially those raised on farms, are rarely aggressive when treated mildly, nor do they actively prey on humans.
Perhaps inconveniently, and due to their omnivorous nature, pigs do not shy away from eating anything they stumble upon. In some cases, pigs have consumed their caretakers, once they inadvertently found themselves in their way and unable to fend for themselves, on account of being incapacitated.
Wild pigs, as they would not be very likely to stumble upon human flesh, have a lower likelihood of eating human meat, as they can roam over vast extensions of terrain and scavenge just about anything else, from crops to leaf litter, leftovers, eggs, and carrion.
What makes up a pig’s diet?
Depending on whether they’re wild or kept in captivity, a pig’s diet may vary greatly.
Some pig farmers feed their pigs slop; which is made up of leftovers from kitchens, restaurants, and households. However, only fresh or otherwise unfermented slop can be fed, as fermented slop contains noxious microbes that cause disease.
Pigs on farms can also be fed grain, crop residue from soy, wheat, corn, oats, canola, sunflower, and other sources of added fat and protein such as dried pulses and tubers. They can also be fed bone meal from ruminant mammals.
There are balanced formulations that are commercially available, and each manufacturer uses different ingredients to guarantee a minimum of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and microelement nutrition.
Where are pigs from?
Pigs were domesticated in China nearly nine thousand years ago, and they diverged (broke off) from their earliest ancestor nearly five hundred thousand years ago. However, some archaeological findings suggest that they were first bred as livestock in the near east, particularly; near the Tigris river basin.
The current consensus maintains that pigs were domesticated separately in Western Asia and China, and west Asian pigs were taken to Europe, where they were bred with wild boars.
Modern, domesticated pigs (Sus domesticus – regardless of their breed) are viewed as a subspecies of the Eurasian wild boar, dubbed Sus scrofa – who roamed an ample spread of land, stretching from Asia to Europe.
Pigs were brought to the American continent by Spanish explorers, and they were taken to other places such as New Zealand and Australia by settlers. In both cases, some pigs managed to escape their enclosures and became feral.
To this day, in both Oceania and North America, wild pigs are considered an invasive species that cause several billions of dollars worth of damage each year and have a high, sometimes detrimental impact on the environment.
What is the role of wild pigs in the environment?
Wild pigs may be considered important components of the food chain in places where they are endemic.
However, in places where they were introduced such as North America and Australia, wild pigs run amok, and cause damage to agriculture, land reserve, and threaten to topple delicate relationships between organisms.
For example, in Australian rainforests, some of which are the sole sanctuary of Cassowaries (unique birds that are also deemed the most dangerous on the planet), feral pigs disrupt the topsoil when they rummage for food, and destroy the soil’s structure, facilitating erosion.
This means they can deplete the forest floor of food, soil, and organic matter, which combined, have devastating effects on a rainforest.
In North America, they can disrupt the delicate balance in wildlife reserves, consume crops that have yet to be harvested, transmit diseases by ferrying arthropods and other vectors, and their droppings can contaminate surface water, soil, and other resources with E. coli.
In many countries where pigs are considered invasive, there is no limit to what hunters can pursue, and hunting feral pigs is legal throughout the year.
However, some hunters note that certain times of year spur feral hogs in action, as they have to roam and search for food, as well as move in greater numbers.
To summarize, wild pigs may be an important component of the food chain, or an unchecked pest, depending on where users find themselves.
We advise users to always be cautious in places where wild pigs have been sighted, as they are renowned for being highly aggressive to humans and companion animals, such as pack animals, and dogs.
In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the query: “Do pigs eat humans?” Also, we’ve explored what makes up a pig’s diet, where pigs originated from, and what is the role of wild pigs in the environment?