They may be smart, and they may be cute — but they can also be a lot to handle.
Two Nova Scotia animal sanctuaries say they’re being overwhelmed by surrendered pot-bellied pigs. People might be tempted to adopt the animals as pets, but are not doing the proper research ahead of time.
Sometimes they’re advertised as miniature or teacup pigs, but don’t trust something that’s too good to be true: there’s no such thing as a miniature pig.
“It’s a lot of people hoping to get a small, cute piglet, and they don’t realize that a ‘mini pig’ is any pig under 300 pounds,” said Emilie Pece, the founder of Dandelion Acres Homestead and Rescue in Westville, N.S.
“They’re toddlers forever.”
They’re “toddlers” that can live up to 20 years, be destructive, eat a ton, and be extremely costly.
Dandelion Acres, along with the Lailo Farm Sanctuary in the Annapolis Valley, have been inundated with calls from those looking to surrender their animals once they realize the work that goes into caring for them.
They estimate that 90 per cent of pot-bellied pigs are rehomed within their first year.
“When you don’t spay or neuter them, they’re much harder to house train,” said Jen Lussing of Lailo Farm Sanctuary. “Also, pigs have a natural hierarchy, and they’re going to start kind of dominating the owners.
“Yeah, I think that people don’t necessarily do their research.”
And while they can live indoors, Lussing explained that isn’t much of a life for a pot-bellied pig.
“Ideally, they would have an outdoor area that they can root around in and behave like natural pig behaviours — like digging in the dirt, having mud baths,” she said.
“Ideally, you’d get two because they are an animal that wants companionship.”
While the pigs do make great companions, they’re just not suitable companions for everyone — and Pece and Lussing are urging any potential pig owners to do their research before adopting.
— with files from Alex Cooke