Pigs are one of the most intelligent animal species on the planet. Found throughout the world, pigs are kept by humans as companions and livestock, as well as living in wild populations. Pigs that are well cared for live an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years -- compared to wild pigs, which are estimated to live only 4 to 8 years.
Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pigs
Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs are very popular as pets in the United States. With proper care, pot-bellied pigs can live for up to 20 years. The Guinness World Record for "oldest pig" belongs to a fellow named Oscar, who was 21 years and 13 days old when he died in 2010. Pot-bellied pigs should be spayed or neutered, receive yearly veterinary exams with vaccinations and have a properly managed diet in order to live a long and healthy life.
Wild pigs in the U.S. are decendants of the true wild boars that originated in Eurasia and were brought across the Atlantic by Spanish explorers in the early 1500s. These pigs have bred and hybridized with domestic pigs and are termed "feral." Wild pigs can live up to 20 years, but their average lifespan is lower -- an average of 4 to 8 years -- due to high mortality rates from predation.
Pigs as Livestock
Pigs raised as livestock in the United States will typically reach market weight of 250 pounds in about 6 to 7 months. Breeding animals will remain on the farm an average of 1.5 years longer than market pigs. If you rescue a pig originally intended as a food animal, it has the potential to live to its full lifespan of 20 years. It will additionally likely double or triple in size over the next several years. Most full-grown sows weigh in excess of 500 pounds; mature boars may easily weigh over 1,000.
Health Concerns in Pet Pigs
Obesity is the most common health problem in pet pigs. Pigs are omnivores and need a varied diet with plenty of green vegetables and should have access to green grass for grazing. They should be fed a specially formulated pig chow and should not be given excessive treats. Pigs need frequent deworming, hoof care, regular filing of their tusks and routine vaccinations.