Despite their dirty reputations, some pigs clean their food before eating it, a recent study shows. Researchers at University College London and Basel Zoo in Switzerland made their discovery after a zoo employee spotted several wild boar bringing dirty apple chunks to a stream and sloshing them around before eating them.
Follow-up experiments confirmed the pigs could tell when their food was dirty – and that they could delay gratification by washing their food, rather than chowing down immediately.
Pigs are notorious for their love of the muck. So why might they be fussy eaters? The researchers speculate that they may dislike the taste or texture of the sand. The behaviour may also protect their mouths, as prolonged exposure to abrasive grit could damage their teeth.