My great grandmother was fond of describing winsome wee things as “cute as a bug’s ear,” and I still think that a bug’s ear is probably exceedingly adorable. Why do we find small things so cute? Babies, puppies, kittens? Total cuteness. As for babies, Jeffrey Kurland, associate professor of biological anthropology and human development at Penn State, says that we find babies irresistible because “we are inherently attracted to a specific set of characteristics, including large, symmetrical heads, large eyes, small mouths, and small noses.” Can the same hold true for the cute factor of other species? Case in point, the teacup pig.
Included in the swag bags for this year’s Golden Globe Awards were vouchers redeemable for a free baby pig. They even had a live teacup pig at the gift lounge to seal the deal. This latest in celebrity trends was hatched across the pond where Brits are going nuts for teacup pigs, also known as micropigs.
But this trend in purchasing Lilliputian piglets as pets–prompted by breeder promises of significantly smaller-sized, teacup adult pigs–has sanctuaries crying false advertising. Although these diminutive pigs are much smaller than a standard farm pig and weigh a mere nine ounces at birth, they often outgrow the breeders’ claims of eternal tininess and end up in the medium to large dog range–with many of these pigs being then abandoned. It’s hard to play Paris Hilton and cart your pet pig around in your handbag when your “teacup” pig reaches 75 pounds.
Pigs can indeed make great pets for people who have done the research and have the time to commit to making them family members. But size is a top reason cited when pigs are given up. Other reasons may be that they require a lot of attention and care, and they make quite a bit of noise and trouble if not properly stimulated, trained and socialized. As well, many areas prohibit pigs as pets, something many purchasers don’t discover until someone reports them. Pigs are smart, fastidious and trainable, but people often run into trouble with them because they don’t consider the other realities.
Yet…the fact remains: Tiny pigs are cute. Cute cute cute. Seriously, what’s cuter than a tiny pig? (Besides a bug’s ear, of course.) But instead of going out and purchasing a trendy teacup pig that may eventually outgrow the family dog, here are four sweet little pig videos to revel in instead…