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Friday, April 19 2024
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Why pigs have to get dirty to look up to the sky

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I recently came upon a comment that seemed intriguing. It claimed that since pigs are unable to look up at the sky, they are unable to appreciate it. That struck me as a little strange, so I decided to look it up and get the truth.

Pigs can look up, however, depending on the pig’s level of fat, they can only do so at an angle of roughly 45 per cent. The fact that wild boars and pigs have less neck fat than domesticated pigs allows them to look up high enough to see the sky.

Pigs lack the ability to look directly up, which is why many people mistakenly think they cannot look up. Pigs can see sideways and with their heads tilted up. Rolling in the mud allows them to glimpse the sky. That pigs cannot see the sky is a pure fallacy.

The misconception that pigs cannot gaze up is so widespread that it is printed in a wide variety of publications. Pigs are the only mammal that cannot elevate its head to the sky and some books even cite this as a unique fact. But, even if it were truthful, it would still be false. Fish also don’t raise their necks, thus this is the reason (fish have no necks).

However, a lot of deep-water fish species never swim high enough to see the sky. Last but not least, even people hardly ever stare directly up at the sky. More than just a straight angle, “up” also refers to a broad direction.

Pigs’ heads and eyes have indeed evolved to be mostly downward-facing. Because the majority of a pig’s diet is located on the ground, this is the case. Pigs hunt for food; they consume both plant and insect roots.

Also, they have been developed to put on the most weight possible for meat production. The increased neck fat that domestic pigs have limited the pigs’ ability to turn their heads. It does not, however, absolutely prohibit it.

Pigs can see upwards, as any farmer would attest. They must “sit” to stare upward at a higher angle than usual because they cannot look directly above them. This is because domesticated pigs’ necks naturally slant downward.

Compared to farmed pigs, wild boars and wild pigs have a higher neck reach. This is a result of farm pigs being bred to be obese (and good for the skillet). Pigs and wild boars have more mobile necks because they don’t have as much neck fat as domesticated animals.

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