Pigs are highly intelligent indeed: They’re actually one of the smartest domesticated animals, more so than dogs, according to National Geographic Kids. In the 2015 paper Thinking Pigs, researchers Lori Marino and Christina M. Colvin agree that pigs are “cognitively complex” beings who possess long-term memories, understand symbolic language, solve complex problems, and feel empathy.
In short, our porcine friends are awesome and worthy of recognition! Check out these six pigs who got just that and gained a significant following on the Internet.
The Wonder Pig: Esther
With 1.4 million Facebook fans and almost half a million Instagram followers, Esther the Wonder Pig truly is an Internet superstar.
Misrepresented as a micro pig when she was little, she grew to be 600 pounds in just a few years. Instead of giving her up due to her size, Esther’s dads, Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, moved their family to an Ontario farm, which also serves as the headquarters of the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary.
Since coming into their lives, Esther has inspired her dads to become animal activists and rescue neglected farmed animals, which is known as the Esther Effect!
Pig on Wheels: Chris P. Bacon
Born without the use of his hind legs, Florida pig Chris P. Bacon was taken to veterinarian Len Lucero to be put down due to his congenital deformity. Luckily, Lucero decided to adopt Chris, brought him home, and made him a wheelchair out of toys. He then posted a video of the adorable piglet learning to use his first set of wheels for his out-of-state friends and family, but hundreds of thousands of other people also saw it, and boom — a star was born.
Chris has since appeared on several TV shows, including Anderson Live and The Today Show. Recently, this special pig celebrated his sixth birthday!
Rocky and Peppa
Rocky and Peppa are two lucky piggies who are roommates in the Davao City-based Happy Animals Club (HAC). Both were rescued by the no-kill shelter from certain death a couple of months apart in early 2018. Rocky was spotted desperately trying to escape the truck that was taking him to slaughter, while Peppa was a pet slated to be sold to a lechonan (pig roaster). In both cases, animal lovers and shelter supporters chipped in to help fund their rescues.
These days, Rocky and Peppa can be seen munching on fruit, taking naps, and doing piggie things on HAC’s Instagram page, where their photos and videos have gotten tens of thousands of likes.
The Surfing Pig: Kama
Pigs can’t fly, but they sure can surf! At least, this Hawaiian pig called Kama can.
Before he was a surfing celebrity, Kama was an orphan piglet. In an interview with Hawaii News Now, Kama’s dad, Kai Holt, said that he was on a camping trip with his family when a piglet walked into his cabana. He adopted the young pig and named him Kamapua’a. Holt later found out that pigs could swim after Kama accidentally fell into his pool at home, and they’ve been surfing together ever since!
Kama likes surfing three- to four-foot waves and simply hops back on his board if he gets wiped out. This pig certainly knows how to hang loose!
In addition to looking cute for the camera, Lord Hamilton uses his charm to make a difference in his local community. As the Director of Emotional Support for the Arizona non-profit Happily Ever After League (HEAL), Lord Hamilton brings smiles to the volunteers and families of the HEALing House, where mothers recovering from cancer receive assistance.
According to the HEAL website, their Director of Emotional Support loves making new friends and knows how to sit, spin, give high fives, and play the piano with his snout. He also enjoys going for walks on a leash — wait, is Lord Hamilton a pig or a dog?
This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s March 2019 issue.