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Pigs
All domestic pigs or swine are descended from wild boar, which live in Europe and Asia. Wild boars are still common in places. Boars are related to warthogs, peccaries and hippopotamuses. They all have four toes. Boars live mostly in deciduous woodlands. They live in family groups and forage for food together.
Pigs were first domesticated before 6000 BC in the Middle East. They are omnivores and have large canine teeth which can grow into small tusks. They are very strong and intelligent. Pigs are kept mainly to be eaten. Their meat, pork, can be eaten as sausages, ham, bacon or pork joints. Pig hair is used as bristles for brushes and the skin makes fine leather. There are now many different breeds of domestic pig, however some old fashioned breeds are becoming rare. Although pigs like to wallow in mud to keep cool, they are really quite clean and tidy animals, if they have enough space. They are easy to look after, but to keep pigs happy they should be able to root about in the earth.

The Zoo has a family of Vietnamese Pot-bellied pigs. Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs originated in Vietnam with 14 sub species. They are a small breed; average height is 35 to 48cm. They weigh at least 14kg. Pot-bellied pigs can easily be discerned from other pig breeds by their small size, sway-back, upright ears and flat tails that do not curl. Purebred Vietnamese Pot-bellied pigs are always black.

References
The UFAW handbook on the care and management of farm animals, C.W Hume, Longman group Ltd, 1971.
C. Maree & NH Casey, Livestock production systems, principles and practices, Agri-Development Foundation.
London Zoo, Children�s Zoo: produced by the education department in 1997.







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