1 Tahrcountry Musings: An insight in to wallowing in pigs

Saturday, April 30, 2011

An insight in to wallowing in pigs

Review of wallowing in pigs: Description of the behaviour and its motivational basis
 M.B.M. Bracke
Volume 132, Issues 1-2, June 2011, Pages 1-13 
 In this paper researcher Dr Marc Bracke from Wageningen University and Research Centre has reviewed the wallowing in pigs and related species. The behaviour is described and it’s motivational basis is examined.

48 papers were identified containing citations about wallowing behaviour in pigs and wild boar. 12 papers contained citations about wallowing in related species
The researchers conclude that wallowing is vital for the animals' well-being.
Dr Bracke says Pigs are genetically related to particularly water-loving animals such as hippos and whales and it seems that this preference to be in shallow water could have been a turning point in the evolution of whales from land-dwelling mammals.

The common perception is that pigs wallow mainly for cooling, sunburn protection and the removal of ecto-parasites. Dr Brake says little scientific evidence exists for other functions other than thermoregulation.

Dre Brake sign off saying “Pigs lack functional sweat glands and wallowing in mud is an effective behavioural control mechanism in pigs to prevent hyperthermia. Wallowing, however, may also serve other functions, e.g. in scent-marking and sexual behaviour. In addition, wallowing in pigs, like dustbathing in poultry, may be indicative of positive welfare and, perhaps, the performance of the behaviour is ‘hardwired’ and rewarding in itself. If so, wallowing could be an important element of a good life in pigs.”


Petter said...

Interesting. Would this mean that boars would be limited rangewise to areas with nearby water?

I know mud-bathing exists amon the males in the arctic ptarmigan (the one with feathercovered feet). In this species it is however a form of sexual selection were females have a pregetence for muddy males, even though it makes them vulnerable to falcons since they're easier spotted against the snow.

Mohan Alembath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohan Alembath said...

Hi Petter,
Thanks for sharing your views. I am not sure whether the new insight would mean boars would be limited rangewise to areas with nearby water

Petter said...

Wrote the comment from a phone and realized several errors in spelling went in.

preference, not pregetance
among, not amon

Will try to avoid typing from these extremely tiny phone keyboards.