One, Two, Three Little Pigs
Published: Mar 17, 2017Our latest editions to the Zoo are a trio of Visayan warty piglets, which are incredibly cute. Their keeper Tracey discusses their progress...
Spring has well and truly sprung here at Newquay Zoo in the past couple of weeks. Our latest editions to the Zoo are a trio of Visayan warty piglets, which are incredibly cute.
Parents Dilang (Mum) and Taer (Dad) have three new baby pigs to go along with their two sisters (Penelope and Babs). Our three little girls (yet to be named) are thriving!
With an estimated 200 left in the wild, Visayan warty pigs are one of the rarest breeds of pigs in the world and are now listed as Critically Endangered. Native to the West Visayan Islands in Central Philippines, they were once found on all 6 of these islands. However, this adorable breed of pig now only populates two of them, Panay and Negros, having been classed as extinct on the other 4.
Conservation is a big concern for us here at Newquay Zoo, breeding this very rare species of pig is really important as the Visayan warty pig is facing extinction. In their natural habitat these pigs are subject to many dangers such as overhunting and habitat loss. A further danger to the species is something called hybridisation, which is where free-ranging feral and domestic pigs breed with them, damaging the blood line.
A warty pig’s wild diet includes roots, fruits, vegetables and insects found in the forest as well as crops - which is why the species can be seen as a pest. At Newquay Zoo we feed them a mixture of fruit and vegetables, pellets, nuts and seeds as well as some meat. At 25 days old, our little trio have already begun tasting solid foods, which they started to investigate at around a week old.
In the wild, warty pigs will live in small groups with one male, a couple of females and their offspring. Males are usually a lot larger than the females in the group and have large tusks - if you drop by the Zoo you can definitely pick out which one is Taer. During breeding season males will grow a thick, spikey Mohican to attract females. Once mum gets pregnant, it takes about 118 days (so about three and half months) until the babies are born - there will usually be 3-4 piglets in a litter. When first born, the piglets will have stripy fur until they are about seven months old, at which time the fur will become black like their parents.
Don’t forget to come and visit our piglets before they lose their stripes!
Photos courtesy of @brglilly