What Are the Basics of Pig Classification?


Quick Answer

Pigs belong to a group of mammals known as suids. This group also contains babirusas, warthogs, forest hogs, red river pigs, domestic pigs and bushpigs. Suidae is the family's formal name, and it's classified under the order Artiodactyla.

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The Suidae family includes eight genera, for a total of sixteen species of pigs. Artiodactyla are medium- and large-sized, even-toed mammals whose weight is typically carried by their third and fourth toes.

Members of the Suidae family have four toes on each foot but walk on their middle two digits. Their two outermost digits are higher on the leg and do not touch the ground when the animals walk.

Suids have a distinctive snout. The tip contains a round cartilaginous disk and terminal nostrils. The nasal disc connects to muscles that allow suids to move their noses as they sniff the ground while foraging for food. Suids have an acute sense of smell and a strong sense of hearing.

Although many suid species feed on both plants and meat, some suids feed entirely on plants. A typical suid diet includes grass, leaves, roots, insects, worms, frogs and mice.

Suids were originally found across Eurasia and Africa, but humans have introduced domesticated pigs to areas all over the world.

Learn more about Barnyard Mammals

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