Not only is a pig’s hardy snout the first feature we see when we look at it, that snout thrusts its way forward from a pig’s face, so we can’t help but notice it.
But, even more importantly, the pig’s snout is essential for its survival. The pig uses it to dig into and root through the places it finds its food.
So, when you think of a pig’s nose, did you ever wonder:
Do pigs have whiskers? Yes, they do. A pig’s whiskers are not as long or as noticeable as a cat’s, but they are right there, jutting from that marvelous snout. Pig’s coarsest whiskers are found on its nose and chin.
The whiskers of a pig are composed of keratin, the same types of cells which form its hair. (This is the same protein found in human hair and fingernails.)
Do Pigs Have Fur or Hair?
All pigs’ bodies are covered with short, bristly hair, although some have more hair than others.
Different kinds of pigs have different types of hair. The pigs’ hair will vary by color, length, and thickness.
There are even some types of wooly pigs. One breed of pigs with wool is the Mangalista. Those pigs are a Hungarian breed with thick and wooly hair.
Unlike sheep, these pigs don’t need to be shorn, as they shed their wooly fur during warmer seasons.
The appearance of a pig’s hair is sometimes due to “intentional breeding.” (Intentional breeding is a practice of choosing the type of hair a pig has; to suit the intentions of the person who will be raising the pigs.)
In the wild, pigs’ hair is much rougher and coarser.
Wild boars, a relative of pigs, have thick coats of fur. Boars differ from pigs in their sizes and weight.
The boars’ fur comes in two layers; a fine steely layer on top with a soft, downy layer underneath.
The length of a pig’s hair also varies due to breeding practices. Most of today’s species of pigs originated in England or the USA, but those Hungarian and some New Zealand pig breeds are also very popular. Even though it makes sense to think that the hair length is directly related to a pig’s climate, in many cases, the pig’s hair length is a choice made by the pig breeder because of their own preference as to how the pig’s hair will look.
A pig’s hair also affects how it will adapt to the changing temperatures of its environment. A lighter-colored pig will need to get to a shady place when it is sunny, or they are in danger of getting sunburned.
It’s not possible to apply suntan lotion to a pig, so placing them in a cool and shady shelter is essential. Black pigs’ darker skin makes them immune to sunburn.
When pigs are raised in colder environments, their sparse hair is not much help to them in keeping them warm.
During winter months, pigs have been known to eat more food – for them to convert the food into warmth.
Do Pink Pigs Have Hair?
You might be surprised to find out that a pig that appears to be pink; is white. When people think of “pink pigs, ” they envision the most common breed: the Yorkshire White.
This type of pig is widely raised for its meat. The hair of this breed (and other species which appear pink) is fine and somewhat translucent, so the pig’s very pink skin shows through its hair and gives it that “pink” appearance.
Other white pig breeds include the “West French White, the British Lop, the Landrace, the Lacombe, and the Chester White.”
Sometimes, it is thought these “pink” breeds were so widely developed because many thought they were cute. This is why pink has become the iconic color in which to envision a pig.
Other pigs are black. These pigs’ skin is the opposite of the “pink” pigs’ skin, as the skin itself is black. Another type of pig is a red pigs, like the Duroc breed, the Tamworth, and the Hereford.
Other breeds of pigs are brownish and called roans. All pigs are not solidly colored; their coats can be spotted or have “stripes” of color around their bellies. Pigs with this pattern are called “belted.”
Why Do Animals Have Whiskers?
Animals have whiskers because they help the animals’ sensory system to find and process information about their environment.
Whiskers have different degrees of ability to detect this information, and the thickness, location, and length of the whisker depend on what each species uses it to do.
As for a pig: a pig’s whiskers were once called “vibrissae” (which means vibrate).
When a pig’s whisker touches something, the whisker vibrates. This vibration sends a nerve signal to the pig’s brain. The vibrations of the whiskers will vary in terms of their depth, duration, and direction.
These subtle changes are how the whiskers communicate with the pig about the object’s location, size, strength, and texture.
The whiskers, therefore, help the pig find the right direction to travel and what places and things to avoid.
The whiskers can even detect a change in how the air is blowing through the area where the pig is traveling.
A pig’s whiskers are made differently than its hairs. The pig’s snout is already a fantastic tool, but its whiskers make the snout even more impressive.
Whiskers are both longer and thicker than hair. The follicles of a pig’s whiskers have considerably more blood vessels and nerves than do its hairs.
This makes the whiskers a powerful sensory tool to help the snout interact with the pig’s world.
Do All Pigs Have Whiskers?
Yes, they do. All pigs are mammals, and all mammals have some whiskers on their faces.
Conclusion: Do Pigs Have Whiskers?
Pigs like all other mammals – have whiskers on their adorable faces. Pigs have both hair and whiskers. The stiff, strong whiskers help the pig detect information about its environment and assist it as it finds food and avoids danger.