Did you know? - Fascinating facts and useful trivia factoids about people, products and places

Pigs and ships captains

Sea captains use pigs for emergencies

In the old days, sea captains kept pigs on board because they believed, should they be shipwrecked, pigs always swam toward the nearest shore.

The pig is rated the fourth most intelligent animal. Pigs are part of the order artidactyla (even toed, hoofed animals). There are more than 180 species of pigs, found on every continent except Antarctica. They come in just about any size and colour, have an average lifespan of 20 years and litters from 2 to 12 piglets.

Pigs are often thought to be dirty, but actually keep themselves cleaner than most pets. They are seen laying in mud because they do not have sweat glands and constantly need water or mud to cool off.

Uncle Sam

“During the War of 1812, a New York pork packer named Uncle Sam Wilson shipped a boatload of several hundred barrels of pork to U.S. troops. Each barrel was stamped ‘U.S.’ On the docks, it quickly became bantered about that the ‘U.S.’ stood for ‘Uncle Sam,’ whose large pork shipment looked to be enough to feed the entire army. Thus did ‘Uncle Sam’ come to represent the US Government itself.” Thus according to the US National Pork Producers Council.

Big Business

Pork is big business: it is the world’s most widely-eaten meat. It therefor is rather apt that pigs are responsible for the naming of one of the world’s leading financial centres. To stop free-roaming pigs rampaging through their grain fields, Manhattan Island residents built a long wall on the northern edge of what is now Lower Manhattan. The street that came to board the wall was named… Wall Street.

Domestication of pigs took place in China around 7500 BC. China still is the largest producer of pigs.

In Denmark, there are twice as many pigs as people.

Pigs are mentioned twice in the Bible. Sheep are mentioned 45 times, and goats 88 times.

With no pun intended, a pig started a cold war. In 1859, an American-owned pig wandered into a British-owned potato patch on San Juan Island, off the coast of Washington. The pig was shot, starting a cold war.