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Do Pigs Eat Humans? (Answered)

Pigs! When not thinking of them as a source of food, we usually think of their sloppy cuteness. Frolicking in the mud and eating like, well, pigs (that’s a myth, they actually take their time). Pigs normally dine on tree leaves, grass, cornmeal, soybeans, fruit, worms, and bark.

But, pigs are opportunistic omnivores. If given the chance, they will eat just about anything. ANYTHING!

Do Pigs Eat Humans?

Pigs inside the cage with hay
Domestic pigs inside the cage with hay | image by K-State Research and Extension via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Pigs will eat human remains in some rare circumstances. Neither domestic pigs or wild hogs are above eating a human if they are hungry enough. There have been reports of this type of activity for a long time as you’ll see below.

A well fed and content domesticated pig will not chase a person down and eat them. Pigs are normally non-violent, calm animals. If domestic pigs are poorly treated, feel threatened, or are hungry, they could possibly eat a human if the opportunity presents itself.

Even a wild boar would not hunt a human with the intention of eating them. Most wild boar attacks are territorial or in defense of young. Wild boar would however scavenge a dead human body if they came across one. Pigs are omnivores that eat meat and other animals. Humans are made of meat.

Some of the more recent cases where pigs ate humans include:

  1. In 2019, a woman in Russia was partially eaten by her pigs when she suffered a medical event and collapsed in the pen. The swine ate her ears, face, and shoulders.
  2. In 2015, a Romanian farmer died after having a heart attack and falling into the pig pen. He bled to death after the pigs tore at his flesh.
  3. In 2014, a toddler in China was partially eaten after he crawled into the pen to play. The mother pig believed he was there to harm her piglets, bit his head and consumed it.
  4. In 2012, a 69 year old man from Oregon was almost completely consumed by his pigs. All that was found were his dentures and a few body parts. It’s unknown if the man fell or suffered a medical emergency. Just a side note, the man’s brother stated that the year before the man had accidentally stepped on a piglet and the mother bit him. Pigs are known to have great memories.
  5. In 2020, an elderly man in Poland was eaten by his free roaming pigs while fetching water from his well. It’s unclear if he fainted or died. But, a neighbor who hadn’t seen him for a few days investigated and found nothing but bone and skull fragments.

These cases were accidental. In some cases, the pigs were probably hungry from not being fed, since their feeder was lying in the pen! Unfortunately, there are many instances of pigs eating people for a much more nefarious purpose, and it’s not the pigs’ fault!

Body disposal

Pig staring at the camera
Pig staring at the camera | image by Nick Saltmarsh via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Most of us have probably heard about people being fed to pigs to get rid of criminal evidence ( the evidence being the body). You may have seen movies like Hannibal or television shows like Deadwood where humans are tossed in a pig pen, dead or alive and are gone in a few minutes.

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Though dramatic, it’s not entirely inaccurate. There needs to be a lot of pigs and the body won’t disappear in minutes (more like a day or two).

Also, pigs cannot digest hair, teeth, or  large pieces of bone. Not to mention any foreign objects like dentures, hearing aids, pacemakers, etc.

So, while using pigs to hide crimes may have worked prior to DNA, nowadays, it’s pretty impossible. Also, law enforcement is on to the whole pig disposal method. So they’ll likely check the pen and find some hair or bone!

Some of these cases of poor pigs being used as unknowing conspirators  include:

  1. In 2013, a mob boss in Italy was beaten and thrown into a den of pigs while still alive! A year earlier, this same crime syndicate murdered a businesswoman and fed her body to the pigs. Her “crime”, was refusing to sell her land to the criminals.
  2. A serial killer from Canada used pigs and their willingness to eat anything to dispose of 49 bodies between 1983 and 2002!
  3. An Oregon murderer fed two men she had killed and fed them to her pigs. While searching her property, the police found teeth and hair in the pig pen.

An Odd Occurrence

Pigs in the farm
Pigs in the farm | image by kallerna via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

There is one case that is not farm related or criminal in nature. Something we would not worry about in our day-to-day routine. It involves a woman simply going to work as a caretaker.

The area was a residential neighborhood in Texas. When the elderly patient saw that her caretaker’s car had been sitting in the driveway, she went out to check on her. She discovered a horrific scene.

The poor woman’s body had been torn apart. Police refused to go into detail, but determined, based on the bites, that it was a wild hog attack.  Law enforcement officers stated that this area has been having problems with feral pigs for quite some time.

Attempts were being made to capture the pigs but it was too late for this woman. An officer said it was the worst thing he’d seen in 35 years as a police officer. Basically, the chances of being eaten or killed by a pig are quite low.

In fact, many more deaths occur from the effects of mosquito bites each year. Farmers raise thousands of pigs without incident. Most pigs are happy just to roll in the mud and sniff each other.

They have no interest in purposely hunting down and eating humans. A well-fed, well-cared for pig is likely a pig that’s safe to be around.


Conclusion

With all that in mind, yes, a pig would eat a human under the right circumstances. Keep in mind though, humans are not a part of a pig’s diet and pigs do not see humans as a meal.