Teacup pigs are popular on YouTube and Instagram once again..
October 17, 2018 3:05 AM   Subscribe

What most sellers/owners don't know (or won't tell you) is that most of these micropigs aren’t going to remain small ... " It’s a universal truth that what’s old will eventually become new again, and what’s beloved on Instagram or YouTube can never truly die. And so, adopting teacup pigs, a fad inspired partly by Paris Hilton in 2007 (the same year Hilton’s reality series, The Simple Life, ended) is back. "

Pet fads! As old as ... pets?

In 2015 it was Tibetian Mastiffs, 'Teacup' dogs and 'Teacup Pigs'.

Also in 2015 the poor Slow Loris was briefly popular as a fashion accessory mini pet du jour.

In 2009, the Guardian Newspaper looked at the suitability of Micropigs, Pygmy goats, Falabella (miniature horses), Pygmy Hedgehogs, Mini Mules, Babydoll Sheep, miniature donkeys and a few other more exotic animals - Spoiler none of which are especially easy to care for as pets.

Those wishing to own a cute portable 'pet', should perhaps take a lesson from the 1970's and adopt/collect inanimate objects like Pet Rocks?

Going further back in time, modern Pet owners might have the Victorians to thank for the modern incarnation of what we consider 'Pets' in the first place.

Meanwhile a Russian Scientists claims to have successfully created a breed of Domesticated Red Fox ... it only took 35 (ish) years.

Links contain lots of pictures of very small and miniature animals.

Enjoy.
posted by Faintdreams (40 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
This immediately reminded me an article I read in the Guardian last year that had a really big impact on me: I Accidentally Bought a Giant Pig.

I would love to have a pig, myself, but not until I have the land for it to run around in.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 3:26 AM on October 17, 2018 [9 favorites]


"The creatures online looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
posted by glonous keming at 3:43 AM on October 17, 2018 [18 favorites]


I love pigs. If I ever find myself in a position to own a pet pig, you can bet that's what I'll do. It's not going to be because I saw a tiny pig on Insta and went "squeeee!" though.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:20 AM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I owned a pig for a few years and it was one the best family pets I’ve ever owned hands down. Same story, given to us when it was small by someone in an bad situation then the pig grew to about 200 pounds in two years so we ended up giving pepper the pig to a friend who had a had ranch just outside the city because we couldn’t keep a pig that big in the city.

Damn I loved that pig. So many stories. Pigs are fucking great. Shit now I feel bad again for the pork I’ve eaten these past few years since I started eating meat. What’s funny is my kids don’t eat pork anymore because Pepper the pig was just that great to us. Oh shit it’s 6:30 in the morning and now I’m misty eyed thinking about how cool pepper the pig was.
posted by nikaspark at 4:31 AM on October 17, 2018 [22 favorites]


Also my resume has “moved a pig” listed on it as a job I did in 2013.

Moving pepper the pig one summer evening in 2013 did more to improve my career skills than 20 years in enterprise ever tech did.
posted by nikaspark at 4:33 AM on October 17, 2018 [17 favorites]


Also my resume has “moved a pig”

It's not easy to stir the emotions of a pig.
posted by pracowity at 4:46 AM on October 17, 2018 [39 favorites]


Or is it?
posted by pracowity at 4:47 AM on October 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


We occasionally pig-sit for my wife's co-worker. The video on the linked page "The Truth About Mini-Pigs" describes our experience accurately. The pig is only about 20 pounds and has been that size for a few years. We wonder if she's underfed.

The good parts about taking care of that pig:
Cuddling on the couch (the pig loves to cuddle on the couch and get scratches).
Sleeping at night (the pig sleeps in the bed, under the covers by our feet).
Sleeping during the day (the pig burrows into a big pile of fleece blankets and quietly snorts)
Feeding the pig garbage (she goes completely crazy for banana peels, apple cores).
When the pig is around, the house smells vaguely like a barnyard (makes me miss Pennsylvania)

The bad parts of watching the pig:
The pig screams like it's being murdered when you try to get it to do something it doesn't want to do.
The pig is smart but mostly uses her intelligence to find food. I got home one day and found that the pig opened the fridge, knocked everything off the bottom shelf, and ate all the grapes.
On the last visit, the pig would occasionally try to bite our bewildered dog.
posted by Drab_Parts at 4:49 AM on October 17, 2018 [32 favorites]


I think we could bring pet rocks back, because lord knows painted rocks are all the rage now.

In other news, Chloe Bennet is dating Logan Paul? WTF?
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:03 AM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


So many dogs and cats in shelters, who really are pets and need homes, and people are adopting pigs to be cool?? That's disgusting. I like the idea that a mini-pig is "one that grows to be less than 300 lbs." Mini??? Pigs in the house are something that went out with my European ancestors a long time ago.
posted by mermayd at 6:05 AM on October 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'll get a pig for a pet when I can find a literate spider to keep it company.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:20 AM on October 17, 2018 [39 favorites]


For my money... well, put it like this, I'd rather have a not-as-miniature-as-I-hoped pig than a Tibetan Mastiff, or for that matter a few other livestock guardian breeds (mostly the equally-fluffy and startlingly cute Caucasian Ovcharka and the endearingly-floppy Fila Brasiliero). I would really rather not have an enormous dog who looks adorable and has both a tendency towards mental independence and also a high level of territoriality. It's a really rough combination to safely manage, and I've heard enough horror stories from people who keep these dogs (and enough everything-is-working-fine-no-really stories about the management they require) to be really wary about picking out any one of those three breeds.

I don't want dogs who think that it's their job to ensure my safety, is the long and short of it. And mass-producing dogs like that for a fad sounds... put it like this, I met a lot of Dalmatians as a kid who were high strung, anxious, maybe a bit bitey. I can imagine how the mastiffs might have been softened by indiscriminate breeding such that you have a relatively easygoing family pet, but I can also imagine the same territorial defensiveness and reliance on the dog's own judgement paired with just a bit more insecurity, and just--

no thank you.

If I want a pet who can think for itself, give me a miniature donkey or mule every single time, thank you. Or a dog who thinks for itself but doesn't think that guarding is in its job description. Less liability, eesh.
posted by sciatrix at 6:39 AM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


Gravely disappointed that the Victorian Voices link did not include anything about Queen Victoria, and her Berkshire boar, Ace of Spades.

County fair time is closing out where I live, so I've been meditating on animals for sale to highest bidder (usually a local company or corporation) and the handmade "Thanks to Our Buyers" banners hanging over stalls and pens. A market-weight hog is somewhere around 180 pounds, born in late winter and sold for slaughter in the early autumn, because you should try to get your hog to the butcher before deer season starts in earnest, and keeping outdoor pigs alive through the cold months is a lot of work.

And I say outdoor, because I believe that it's necessary to pigness to be in the sun and wind and dirt. To root. To wallow. To have the space for grazing and flopping down. To have a warm pile of straw to burrow down in when it's chilly. A hog, north of 180 pounds and up to three times that weight, needs a roomy environment to explore and engineer, pushing dirt around and making trails through overgrown weeds. An indoor setting cannot compete, and limits a pig's ability to express its animal self. Is it easier for an owner not to have to go outside to feed it twice a day, not to have to carry bales of straw every few weeks, not to have to break ice on the waterer? Yes. But treating a pig as the functional equivalent of a dog or cat does a disservice to the animal, no matter how many cute outfits it appears in on Instagram, no matter how appealing it is to see on the couch.

I am firmly in the camp of pigs as meat, not pets, and I am also committed to letting my pigs be pigs for as long as they're under my care. Household pigs, no matter how small, aren't having the experience they're built for--rooting through the refrigerator is no replacement for rooting up dirt and grass. The rise of sanctuaries for fake minipigs suggests that this experience is not a great one for many owners or animals. Not all fads are harmless entertainment.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:49 AM on October 17, 2018 [23 favorites]


Time to refer to my anecdote from last time around.
posted by Major Clanger at 7:04 AM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


In other news, Chloe Bennet is dating Logan Paul? WTF?
posted by jenfullmoon


Apparently they've Broken up already.

I think I'll stick to cats... foxes and raccoons and such are cute and all but most of those animals just don't seem like they'd enjoy or benefit from living in my house. My lazy ass cat however...
posted by cirhosis at 7:36 AM on October 17, 2018


I also lived with a "miniature pig" once. It wasn't miniature after all.

Pigs are intensely smart, possibly smarter than dogs. And they know how to show their frustrations if they're mistreated or unhappy at all, especially if kept indoors and bored. They tend to show these frustrations by chewing up basically everything, not excluding your legs and ankles.

They don't make good casual or domesticated pets unless you're ready and willing to put in a whole lot of time, and even then you're going to still need a very large yard and sty for them to root around in.
posted by loquacious at 7:53 AM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


From my experience if you have a pig then you need to have rabbits and chickens too and now you’re a farmer.
posted by nikaspark at 7:57 AM on October 17, 2018 [9 favorites]


My preschooler's comment: Mom, pigs are as smart as dogs! You can train them to be your pet, even. They can sit, relax, even play fetch.

Preschooler has a promising future in metafilter commenting.
posted by medusa at 8:12 AM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


i still want that tiny giraffe from the directTV ad
posted by poffin boffin at 8:32 AM on October 17, 2018 [10 favorites]


.foxes and raccoons and such are cute and all but most of those animals just don't seem like they'd enjoy or benefit from living in my house.

Steve, this asshole raccoon that won't get off my porch or out of my trash at night and is 100% positive he should be invited into my kitchen (like I have had to block him from walking right on in), would disagree with you.

Speaking of: anybody want a raccoon? Because Steve won't leave me alone.
posted by thivaia at 8:46 AM on October 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


They do scream. When you pick up a piglet, it'll scream like you just stuck a knife in it. (The instant you put it down, it'll act like nothing happened.) As soon as the screaming starts, Mama Pig will come trotting over to see just what exactly you are doing to her baby. 1,000 lbs of bacon can be pretty intimidating in such a situation.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:55 AM on October 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


I did not know there was already a post from this year (2017) about teacup Pigs.

Apologies.

This link from that post about Whatever happened to celebrity 'Teacup' Pigs?, is simultaneously uplifting and horrifying...
posted by Faintdreams at 9:02 AM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm waiting for the next Celebrity pet: army ant colonies. I mean sure they'll overrun and devour every small creature in the neighborhood, including children, but hey, they're so cool and trendy!
posted by happyroach at 10:29 AM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


My preschooler's comment: Mom, pigs are as smart as dogs! You can train them to be your pet, even. They can sit, relax, even play fetch.

Pigs are plenty smart and can be trained but they they don't have the same pack mentality that makes a dog want to live by your rules. A pet pig won't see you as the alpha pig who must be obeyed, they see you as a walking food dispenser and you will always be subject to a contest of wills to get what they want from you. See my previous comment comparing pig psychology to a dog. Like loquacious says, a big yard and lots of stimulation is needed for a happy pet pig.
posted by peeedro at 11:04 AM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Aw pet rocks! I wanted one as a kid, but Mom thought they were stupid. She was right, but I was just so proud that I actually got the joke.

It reminds though of someone my dad knew in the 80s (at least I think so, it's all kinda hazy now), who was working to get Robot Eggs to be the next pet rocks. Didn't take off, but I kept them around a long time. I thought they were brilliant, just a clear sealed tube of plastic with an assortment of various sized ball bearings inside.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:19 AM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


"So many dogs and cats in shelters, who really are pets and need homes, and people are adopting pigs to be cool?? That's disgusting. I like the idea that a mini-pig is "one that grows to be less than 300 lbs." Mini??? Pigs in the house are something that went out with my European ancestors a long time ago."

How is it any more or less disgusting than cats and dogs? Or is just as disgusting to you when someone gets a dog or cat not from a shelter? If anything, pigs are a more intelligent animal and it's weird we never bred an indoor domesticated version like we did cats and dogs. Also, our european ancestors were also fucking idiots who threw shit in the streets, were convinced taking baths was unhealthy, and it's a miracle any of them survived long enough to make descendents, so I'm not taking their habits as something to emulate.
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:59 AM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


A pet pig won't see you as the alpha pig who must be obeyed, they see you as a walking food dispenser and you will always be subject to a contest of wills to get what they want from you.

So basically, a pig is like a 300-pound cat.
posted by briank at 12:49 PM on October 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


CW: Pig Violence

My grandfather during childhood knew a kid who was killed and eaten by a pig, a story which I only half-believed until:

A. It was corroborated by his brother; and
B. I had some experience with actual 600-700 lb. bacon pigs.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:41 PM on October 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


“I am very fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” Winston Churchill
posted by gregoreo at 3:04 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


I have never been close enough to pig ownership to research the actual feasibility of this, but if possible, I would like to take my pig hiking.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:19 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


What you need is a masting wood, A. O. A N. L. A., T! And possibly the Great Shout.
posted by clew at 3:39 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Hiking might be a big ask. Hogs get winded after running around. About the most I like to do is to move the pigs from one area to another via a food trail/holding food in front of them. And yes, you are totally correct about screaming piglets and angry sows--the key is to make sure mama is in an adjacent area (behind a gate) or at least across the pasture when you snatch a little one. The pig snatcher stands inside the fence and hands the screaming piglet to a pig runner, who hustles on up to the barn while the piglet thief QUICKLY jumps over the fence. Then we reconvene in the barn with a scalpel and do castrations out of the sow's sight but not hearing. Ear protection recommended--those little guys are LOUD. (Pro-tip: Discard testicles securely and immediately so you don't accidentally sit on them.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:43 PM on October 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


One little pink piglet is cute, but if you want to experience the true pig experience, then spend a winter on a pig farm. The cute wears off pretty fast. It's hard work to provide lots of warm mash and veggies four times a day, make sure all the heating lamps are on, the radio is tuned to the station that they prefer, and the pens are cleaned and well-strawed. For every friendly pig that's willing to come to the fence for scratches and attention, there are at least two that are willing and able and looking to hurt you.

Pigs is pigs. I've been around enough pigs that I respect and admire their porcine nature, but I certainly would never trust a mature pig around a small child. They may be domesticated, but the majority of them are not pets.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:14 PM on October 17, 2018 [9 favorites]


We have a sad situation in my state right now with an irresponsible owner who was apparently (accidentally?) breeding potbelly pigs. The state and rescues are now trying to find homes for 500+. (Fortunately for me, zoning in my city does not allow me to have a pig.)
posted by dilettante at 4:17 PM on October 17, 2018


dilettante, I saw "Falmouth" in your link and was like, what are you trying to do to me here?

TIL there is a Falmouth, Ohio.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:21 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Remember when Dorothy lost her balance, fell into the pig pen screaming, and the uncles and farm hands all rushed to save her? Everyone present knew that pigs will fuck you up.
posted by she's not there at 6:52 PM on October 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


I suspect many more MEfites will chime in to confirm my story. In 1998, I was renting a room in Allston, Massachusetts, near Packard's Corner. The family next door, a few years back, had bought a VIetnamese potbellied pig, and then gradually discovered that the pig was not, in fact, Vietnamese potbellied.

So they installed a disabled ramp to their front porch, beefed up the fence to their yard, and kept the pig. THe children at the nearby gradeschool would take detours in the morning and afternoon to say hi to him. The neighborhood cats cuddled up to him.
posted by ocschwar at 9:24 AM on October 18, 2018


There's a person in the neighborhood who has a pig that I'd estimate is in the 100-150 pound range. The pig is an utter delight, and has been the same size for at least two or three years and living what seems like a happy, joyful life going for walks on a leash, hanging around in the local park with a friendly dog or two, and happily snuffling any hands or knees offered for sniffing and greetings.

(In the winter, the pig wears a little vest and hat for walks, and appears very happy to do so. It's incredible. Also, her owners sometimes let her hang out in the back yard, and I have this video of the pig and my son looking at each other through an alleyway grating, her in the alleyway, and my son on the sidewalk, and the pig shaking herself like a dog, and then my son shaking himself and turning around to look at the camera. And then he looks back at the pig, and she does a little trot and snort, and he trots and snorts, and they're pretty clearly playing together.

Anyways, I really love this pig, and it's made me think much harder about meat consumption.)
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:57 PM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]



TIL there is a Falmouth, Ohio.


KY, actually, But maybe I'm not doing you any favors clarifying where these pigs are?
posted by dilettante at 3:35 PM on October 18, 2018


For every friendly pig that's willing to come to the fence for scratches and attention, there are at least two that are willing and able and looking to hurt you.

I dunno, does that sound much different from what you might get if you raised large dogs for meat in similar conditions without socializing from a very young age to be your friends? (Let's not even think about cats but just be glad they're so small because even under ideal circumstances they can get kind of stabby sometimes.)
posted by dilettante at 3:40 PM on October 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


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