|The domestic pig is usually given the scientific name Sus
scrofa, though some authors call it S. domesticus, reserving S. scrofa for
the wild boar. It has been a domesticated animal for approximately 5,000
to 7,000 years. The animal is found across Europe, the Middle East and extends
into Asia as far as Indonesia and Japan. The distinction between wild and
domestic animals is slight, and domestic pigs have become feral in many
parts of the world (for example, New Zealand); feral pigs can cause substantial
environmental damage. The family Suidae also includes about 12 separate
species of wild pig, most also classified in the genus Sus. Pigs are snuffly.
Pigs are intelligent animals, and some are kept as pets. Pigs are reportedly
more intelligent and more trainable than dogs and cats. Pigs were brought
to southeastern North America from Europe by De Soto and other early Spanish
explorers, where escapees became feral and became freely used by Native
Americans as food.
Sus scrofa has four subspecies, each occupying distinct geographical areas. They are Sus scrofa scrofa (western Africa, Europe), Sus scrofa ussuricus (northern Asia and Japan), Sus scrofa cristatus (Asia Minor, India), and Sus scrofa vittatus (Indonesia).
Many different words in English identify different types of pig:
* adult male pigs are called boars
Pigs (or swine) that are allowed to forage may be watched by swineherds. A litter of piglets typically contains between 10 and 12 animals. Meat from pigs is called pork in general and ham, bacon or bologna in some cases. Their trotters are often sold as the jelly-like dish of pig's feet. Hog jowls are a popular soul food. The American pig-raising industry calls pork a white meat, as opposed to beef; "white meat" (such as poultry) is often considered healthier than "red meat." Both Islam and Orthodox Judaism forbid the eating of pork in any form, considering the animal to be unclean: no form of pig meat can be kosher or halal.
While pigs are raised mostly for meat, their skin is used as a source of leather. Their bristly hairs are also traditionally used for brushes.
Pigs, like humans, are omnivores, making them easy to raise: on a small farm or in a large household they can be fed kitchen scraps as part or all of their diet.
Pigs are the only mammal not to have sweat glands. Thus they must have access to water or mud to cool themselves during hot weather.