Have you ever heard of "teacup pigs," the adorable miniature potbelly pigs that are such a hit with the Brits these days? When I was talking to one of my sons on the phone a week or two ago, he told me about them and I immediately went on-line to check them out. Oh. My. GOODNESS! I don't believe I've ever seen anything cuter in my life. (Scratch that. My twin granddaughters are much cuter. But as far as animals go, they're the cutest.)
When I saw pictures of teacup pigs, my only thought was, "I want one!" I have an obsession with pigs, which has been duly documented on this blog (April 4, 2011: "Oh, For Pigs' Sake!"). I have pig art on my kitchen walls and pig figurines all over the place. I never thought I'd actually want one for a pet, though, until I saw these teeny, tiny oinkers. Wouldn't that be fun to have a teacup-sized little piggy around? Only I would call mine a "coffee cup pig" because despite my English heritage, I am not a huge fan of tea.
Teacup pigs go by a number of names, including miniature pigs, pixie pigs, pocket pigs, potbelly pigs, miniature potbelly pigs, and teacup potbelly pigs. And now, they go by coffee cup pigs, thanks to yours truly.
Most of what I read about teacup pigs made them sound like perfect little pets. Apparently, they're quite affectionate: they like to have their bellies rubbed, just like my sons' dogs Allie and Finny. They're intelligent, too; in fact, their intelligence is thought to rival that of dogs. They're reported to be playful, clean, and easy to maintain. They can be trained to use a litter box in a matter of days and live to be 15-20 years old. Don't they sound divine so far? But the more I researched, the more I realized that having a teacup pig for a pet might be a bit of a pain in the neck at times. I guess these little critters are constantly in search of food and will overeat if allowed (the little pigs!). They use their vaunted intelligence to spend pretty much every waking hour trying to figure out how to get more food. Owners have to pig-proof their homes the way they would child-proof for a 2-year-old, or the little eating machines will get their snouts into everything and wreak havoc. Like all animals, teacup pigs are prone to laziness and aggression if they aren't adequately exercised and socialized. Hmmm...perhaps they wouldn't make the most perfect pets after all...
But they're so cute! And so little! It's their littleness that really gets me.
Regarding their size, here's what else I discovered about these irresistible little critters: teacup pigs don't stay teacup-(or coffee cup-)sized forever. Aww, nuts! I knew they sounded too good to be true. They are potbelly pigs that have been bred to be smaller than normal, but normal is rather large. Your average farmyard pig weighs 600-800 pounds as an adult; a regular-sized potbelly pig is a good bit smaller, and tops out at 120-200 pounds. By 2 or 3 years old, these wee teacup cuties are full-grown and weigh only 30-65 pounds, making them about the size of a cocker spaniel. That's small for a pig, surely; but I wanted a miniature pig--one that would never get bigger than a coffee cup. The piggies in the above picture are newborn, and that's why they're so tiny. I guess that in reality, what I wanted was to own a newborn teacup pig for about a month or two (and do a photo shoot with it sitting in one of my coffee cups), and then give it to some nice farmer to raise. Oh, well...
Along with all the many other good reasons NOT to get a teacup pig, they don't come cheap. I saw one in an English advertisement that was priced at a whopping 1,100 pounds. That's a lot of dollars to shell out for a pet that will probably end up eating you out of house and home. So I suppose I'll just have to be satisfied with looking at adorable pictures of this newest pet sensation on-line, and leave pig ownership to braver souls than I.