Nashville Zoo just announced the arrival of four Juliana pigs (Sus domesticus) to Critter Encounters.
The Zoo is welcoming three females, who were born in the same litter and a male, born with the same father as the females. These pigs will stay in Critter Encounters, so the guests can interact with them, and will also be trained to take leashed-walks throughout the Zoo. Other than during colder months where they will have access to a heated indoor area, they will be able to choose to be out and active or retreat into their house when they need to rest.
“We hope when guests interact with our Juliana pigs they will be inspired to help other species of pigs that are declining in the wild once they see firsthand how intelligent and special pigs are,” said Megan Cohn, Nashville Zoo Contact Area Supervisor.
Juliana pigs’ intelligence along with their easy-going temperament and ability to get along with other animals and people make them great ambassador animals allowing the public to get close and interact with a pig.
They also have an excellent sense of smell. A pig’s nose ends in a floating disk of cartilage attached to muscles, which makes it more sensitive than the human nose. The nose is also strengthened by a pre-nasal bone, which enhances the nose as a digging tool. Pigs are often trained for truffle & mushroom hunting, as well as recently used for law enforcement searches.
Domestic populations of pigs are stable, but some wild populations are endangered. Pigs in general are native to Europe and Asia, but were later introduced as domesticated animals and can now be found throughout the world. Juliana pigs are a breed of domestic pig that originated in Europe through selective breeding of various types of pigs.
Humans have been raising pigs for more than 9,000 years. A mature Juliana pig will weigh between 20-40lbs and be between 10-16″ tall. This species does 95% percent of its growing during the first year, and is considered an adult at two years. Juliana pigs more closely resemble a small version of a feral pig than it does the Pot Belly pig.