Review of wallowing in pigs: Description of the behaviour and its motivational basis
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.”