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In horror movies, it’s common to portray pigs as vicious animals that will happily eat people if they’re left alone without food for too long. But is there any truth in this?
Well yes, actually pigs can eat humans and there are several recorded instances of this happening.
The stories that we see on TV of serial killers murdering their victims and feeding them to the pigs aren’t actually far from the truth in some cases.
Raymond and Donal Duvall were convicted of murdering two hunters back in 2003. Their bodies were never found because they were fed to the pigs on their farm.
Accidental deaths can also lead to pigs eating humans. In 2019, a woman in Russia suffered a seizure while feeding her pigs and they ate her alive while she was unconscious.
Although the occurrences of pigs eating humans aren’t all that common, it does happen from time to time.
Are Pigs Carnivores?
Pigs are actually omnivorous. This means that they need a balanced diet of meat and vegetables to stay healthy. This leads to the misconception that pigs can survive on leftover scraps.
In fact, to keep your pig healthy you should feed them a mixture of grains, vegetables, mushrooms, eggs, grass, and small portions of meat.
As part of their diet it’s a good idea to offer them bird intestines, earthworms and fish. Although they do eat meat, you should never offer them raw meat for two reasons:
- If the meat is old, there’s a chance that your pig could get diseases from it and become ill.
- The blood on raw meat can actually seem appealing to your pig. If they get a taste for it and start to associate you with the meat, this is when they can become dangerous. They may begin to see you as their next meal.
Will a Pig Attack a Human?
Typically, domesticated pigs are fairly placid creatures and won’t go out of their way to attack anything. They get most of their food from rooting around on the ground and don’t have any prey drive, despite being able to eat meat.
However, if your pig gets used to eating raw meat, they tend to get a taste for it. Fresh, raw meat tastes much better than the standard grain or vegetables.
If your pig is used to raw meat and hasn’t been fed for a while, they may start to see you as their next meal.
Pigs are also known to attack people if they feel threatened, are in pain or are protecting their piglets. Boars can also become territorial at certain times of year, when the sows are in season.
Even though you know your pig well, you should never go in the sty with them by yourself once the pig grows to adulthood.
As an adult pigs can weigh anything up to 700 lbs. and are more than capable of attacking and overpowering you if the mood strikes.
Are Wild Pigs Vicious?
While domestic pigs are known to be placid unless provoked, wild boar are a whole different story.
Pigs are naturally intelligent and domestic pigs associate you with getting fed, so will understand that harming you could be detrimental to them.
However, when it comes to wild boar, they see you as a threat.
Wild boar are incredibly territorial and will attack humans if they come too close. Although boars still lack a prey drive, much like all other pigs, they won’t think twice about defending their territory and will eat meat if it’s available.
They can grow up to 350 lbs. as adults and can reach speeds of 11 mph. If you’re faced by an angry wild boar, you could be in trouble.
Despite their aggressive nature, boar attacks aren’t that common, but the numbers are increasing every year as the population of wild pigs is growing.
Only around 15% of boar attacks result in fatalities, however, the majority of these do occur in the U.S.
How Do You Avoid a Pig Attack?
To avoid a pig attack, whether domesticated or wild, you need to first understand the reasons why pigs might attack.
- To defend themselves.
- Protecting their territory.
- To protect piglets.
- During mating season.
The safest possible way to avoid catching a pig at the wrong moment is to stay at a safe distance at all times.
This means that they won’t feel that you’re threatening their territory, status or mating prospects.
If you find an attack impossible to avoid, you should always stay calm and back away from the boar slowly. Turning your back and running will only encourage the chase and reaffirm to the boar that you shouldn’t be there.
Try to reach higher ground. This could either be on a rock, up a tree or possibly on the roof of your car. Boars might be fast and tough, but they aren’t that tall.
If the boar reaches you before you’re able to move away, try to keep your footing and stay standing up as much as possible.
The taller you are, the easier the boar will give up. Once you’re on the ground they have full access to cause more injury.
How Long Would It Take a Pig To Eat A Human?
Pigs can eat raw meat at an average speed of around 2 lbs. per minute if they’re really hungry.
Although they can eat quickly, they wouldn’t be able to consume a whole human in one sitting by themselves. If they tried, this could take days.
However, for pig farmed pigs who may live in groups of up to 16 pigs in a single area, they could clear up a whole human body (on average 200 lbs.) in as little as 30 minutes – bones and all.
In Oregon in 2012, a pig farmer was devoured by his own pigs after having a heart attack and falling into the pen.
When his family came out to look for him, it was already too late. It had taken them less than an hour to eat everything apart from his dentures.
Do Pigs Eat Human Bones?
Pigs can digest bones if they need to. Their stomachs have a pH level of 2.5. This is one of the lowest in the animal kingdom.
Their strong stomach acid means that they have no trouble breaking down even the toughest foods that other animals may not even attempt.
In fact, pigs digest bone so well that it’s often not even detectable in their feces later.
If you’re feeding your pig meat (the non-human variety), it’s still better to feed it to them without the bone.
Because pigs shouldn’t really eat raw meat, the small amounts of meat that they do eat are likely to be cooked or may be fish.
Cooked bones can be brittle, can shatter and cause injury in your pig’s mouth if you’re not careful.