Last updated on September 3rd, 2022
I recently took my nephews and nieces to a farm to get first-hand experience raising animals. My nephews and nieces loved the pigs they saw on the farm.
They were fascinated by the sows and piglets and how the creatures shuffled around in their pen. Curious as I was, I wondered whether pigs can walk backward.
As a starting disclosure: this article is mainly for educational purposes. If you see your pig acting funny in any way, get them to a vet for a check-up ASAP.
Pigs can walk backward but in doing so, can only take a few steps backward. Pigs have relatively poor depth of perception when moving forward, but it worsens when moving backward. Additionally, a pig will not run backward because this movement makes them unsteady and vulnerable to falling over.
Why do pigs have such a peculiar manner of walking?
If you have observed how pigs walk, it will seem as though they are walking on tiptoes. This is because they have joined middle toes, which behave like hooves.
So it almost seems like the pigs are standing on their hooves, and the toes behind do not reach the ground. This gives the effect of standing on tiptoes.
But pigs use their hooves and toes that are not joined while walking.
However, if a particular pig cannot walk properly, it is usually due to an underlying disease.
Can a pig walk backward?
A pig is a mammal; like any other four-legged creature, it can move forward and backward. However, a pig will not move backward unless it is frightened.
Pigs are shy creatures, and they avoid confrontation. You will find that it will avoid any situation where it needs to be aggressive.
Domestic pigs will avoid any situation that needs to be aggressive toward their human masters.
But if it is frightening, it will move backward to diffuse the situation.
It will lunge forward and become aggressive only when no other option exists.
Does a pig move backward to run away?
Pigs have poor depth of perception. Hence, when they are being moved on ramps or narrow passages, you must direct them appropriately.
If they get frightened, then they will turn around and run away. They will not try to move backward.
Moving backward will make their movement all the more unsteady. Hence, they tend to turn around completely and then run away.
How far can pigs move backward?
Pigs usually move backward when they are surprised or frightened. However, this movement is quite unsteady.
As the depth of perception of pigs is relatively poor when moving forward, it worsens when they move backward.
Hence, you will find that when pigs are forced to move backward, they tend to get unsteady and even topple over.
As a result, they cannot move backward for a long distance.
They can only move backward for a few steps and then prefer to turn around and move forward.
Therefore, if you are trying to move a drove of pigs backward, it is better that you give the creatures a chance to turn around and move forward. They will move faster.
Can a pig get up if it topples over while walking backward?
You might find that pigs are ungainly creatures, but in reality, they are pretty intelligent and capable of swift movement.
Sometimes farmers have to force pigs into narrow passages or onto ramps and loading docks.
In such situations, farmers are often forced to make pigs walk backward.
Here you might find more than one pig having to walk backward, and as a result, a pig might topple over.
We saw such a sight on the farm we visited, but much to the joy of my nephews and nieces, we saw that the pig was quick to get back on its feet.
This is because pigs are pretty swift and do not lose their equilibrium while walking backward in a couple of steps.
How do pigs maintain their equilibrium during their movements?
When it comes to maintaining equilibrium, the point of balance for a pig is located on its shoulder. So, depending on where it perceives the position of threat, it will move forward or backward.
According to a document published by https://www.cfsph.iastate.edu, pigs are social creatures, and they need to be handled carefully.
Now since it is a social animal and its point of equilibrium is its shoulder, you need to tap its shoulders if you want pigs to move in a specific direction.
But not in a way that frightens the creature; its movements will be uncontrolled, and it can lose balance.
Can pigs be forced to move in a particular direction?
Yes, pigs can be made to move in a particular direction. But to do so, you need to take a few precautions.
Say, for instance, you want the pigs to move up a ramp, then ensure that the ramp is secured by railings so that the creatures do not fall off the sides.
Moreover, if there are any doors on the ramp, these should be securely shut so that the pigs do not run off.
Finally, only one door should be open through which the pigs will enter the ramp and one through which the pigs will exit it. Only then will the pigs move in a single direction.
What can confuse the movement of pigs?
When moving pigs, it is best that you ensure that they are moving along a straight path.
Even if you are moving them on a ramp, ensure that it is not steep, as that will make the pigs uncomfortable and unsteady.
Similarly, pigs are not comfortable moving up steps.
Hence, farmers always ensure that while moving pigs into trucks or from one place to another, they do not have to cross steps.
Finally, pigs can get confused with loud sounds and aggressive behavior.
Therefore, if you are moving pigs, you need to be gentle and caring; otherwise, you can confuse them, and their movement will become erratic.