How Smart Are Pigs?

According to some experts, pigs are probably the smartest and also the cleanest of all domesticated animals, even more so than dogs and cats. In fact, some people believe that pigs are not only smarter than dogs, but also much smarter than 3-year-old humans as well.

Pigs are considered intelligent, as they can quickly learn new tasks and routines, understand how mirrors work, and manipulate things with their mouths. Tests have shown that pigs can pick out specific scents from an array of others, and are able to perform actions based on visual cues.

A study conducted at Purdue University found that pigs were able to play a video game originally designed for Rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees. Controllers allowed the pigs to move a cursor around on a screen and touch specific target walls. Pigs also immediately learn to follow other pigs that show signs of knowing where food is stored; and, they can be deceptive and keep the food from others.

However, many biologists and scientists believe it is nearly impossible to compare intelligence between animals of different species, due to the huge differences between people, cats, dogs, pigs and other animals. Still, many sources place pigs among the top 10 smartest animals in the world.

Many research studies have been performed in order to try to determine the intelligence of pigs, such as a 1998 study that taught pigs to play basic video games. This study was only previously tried with certain species of monkeys, and the researchers assumed the pigs would fail. However, they proved to be just as adept at the task as the primates were.

One of the major factors in the intelligence of pigs is their incredibly strong sense of smell, which they use to find food, identify other pigs and in many other ways as well. This sense allows pigs to identify specific scents, even when presented with a number of other similar scents. The biggest example of this is a study which showed pigs could identify spearmint out of a sample group containing peppermint, mint and other related plants.