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"When they had eaten and drunk to their hearts' content, she waved her wand over them, and at once the poor wretches were changed into grunting pigs, which she shut up in pigsties and threw acorns and other food fit for swine before them. Although thus transformed and covered with bristles, they still retained the human mind."--Odyssey

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A pig has a snout for a nose, small eyes, and a small tail, which may be curly, kinked, or straight. It has a thick body and short legs. There are four toes on each foot, with the two large middle toes used for walking.

Pigs are omnivores, which means that they consume both plants and small animals. Pigs will scavenge and have been known to eat any kind of food, including dead insects, worms, tree bark, rotting carcasses, excreta (including their own), garbage, and other pigs. In the wild, they are foraging animals, primarily eating leaves and grasses, roots, fruits and flowers. Occasionally, in captivity, pigs may eat their own young, often if they become severely stressed.

In fiction and art pigs are displayed as greedy and/or filthy. Both aspects are due to the natural pig lifestyle (when raised on a farm rather than a feedlot)—"greedy" from the way they devour any food put in front of them, "filthy" from the fact that a pig-sty is generally a soup of mud and feces which the pigs don't seem to mind at all (this also gives rise to the saying "Happy as a pig in shit").

The stereotype may also derive in part from Judeo-Islamic cultures, whose concepts of kosher/halal teach that pigs are "unclean" for various reasons. .

Cultural and religious reference to pigs

Pigs appear in the traditional and popular arts, media, and cultures of many societies, where they sometimes carry religious symbolism. In Asia the wild boar is one of 12 animal images comprising the Chinese zodiac, while in Europe the boar represents a standard charge in heraldry. In Islam and Judaism pigs and those who handle them are viewed negatively. Pigs are frequently alluded to in folk art, idioms, metaphors, and proverbs, and also occasionally in parables (e.g. Parable of the Prodigal Son). "the three little pigs" is a folk-tale and "Peppa Pig" is a popular British television show.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pig" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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