The image most of us conjure up when we hear the word “pig” usually involves a swine wallowing in gallons of mud. However, in the tropical paradise of The Bahamas, pigs have a different approach to life.
Here, feral pigs have free roam of some of our sugar-sand beaches with their sparkling waters, and enjoy an endless stream of fans coming to visit. They’re far from snobbish, though: These pigs are friendly, extroverted creatures who happily swim and pose for photos with their human admirers.
Where to find them
Located almost directly to the north of Nassau are the Abaco Islands. Our Abacos, are blessed with plentiful brilliant turquoise bays and some of the Caribbean’s most stunning beaches.
And we have swimming pigs! They live just across the bay from Bahama Beach Club on No Name Cay, endearingly nicknamed “Piggyville” by local residents.
Why visit the pigs?
How often do you see and irresistibly-cute pig, seeming to smile, paddling through the ocean towards you? Being able to get up close and personal with the not-so-wild life is one of our islands’ most beloved oddities.
Even for tourists who aren’t animal mad, visiting the swimming pigs is a special experience. You can see and feed the adorable and friendly Pigville swimming pigs on a 2.5 hour excursion, or enjoy it as part of our Island-Hopping Sunday Day Tour.
These unique animals make for a fantastic photo opportunity! Though the pigs are stars on Instagram (see them here) and Facebook (see them here), nothing beats the opportunity to snap some shots in person, and a fun and unusual thing to take home to show the family.
Regardless of the food supply, pigs are pigs and will delightedly accept any offerings of food. Many tourists find it to be an exciting experience, and it can be very rewarding when the pigs show affection in return.
The pig populations are supplied with fresh water, fruits and vegetables by the local guides who visit, and visitors are often given the opportunity to feed them as well. After all, the cute pigs have become a vital tourist attraction, and maintaining their health benefits both the pigs and the people who visit them. Regardless of the food supply, pigs are pigs and will delightedly accept any offerings of food. Many tourists find it to be an exciting experience, and it can be very rewarding when the pigs show affection in return. Just keep your hands a safe distance away from eager piggy mouths.
How did the pigs get there?
The humble pig is not native to the Caribbean, let alone any tropical climates. The modern day domestic pig is thought to have descended from various species of wild boars, which originated in Europe and Asia. Pigs naturally live worlds away from the Caribbean, yet they still managed to establish small but successful populations in The Bahamas.
As with most misplaced species, the pigs were introduced to The Bahamas by migrating humans. Pork is a much-loved staple of a classic European diet, so where the English went, the pigs went with them. However, the exact way the pigs reached No Name Cay is unknown.
One of the theories is that a group of sailors placed them here to provide a food source later, but never returned. Similar theories replace the sailors with concerned residents of the nearby Staniel Cay, planning a livestock farm in case of a lack of food supplies hit The Bahamas. The most exciting theory is that the original pigs were survivors of a shipwreck and managed to swim to the shore and continue their lives on the island.
No matter where they came from, the pigs have shown great resilience and adaptability. The pigs have populated this small island for generations now, surviving from the nutrition the land provides and the generosity of locals and the tourists who visit them. It’s an impressive effort which emphasises the pigs’ determination and will to survive.
Sailing to the pigs
Want to get your own adorable dose of swimming pigs? Bahama Beach Club’s activities partner Brendal’s Dive Center can introduce you.
So what are you waiting for? The swimming pigs can’t wait to meet you!
See some of our swimming pigs in action: