Everything You Need To Know About Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas
By Rachel George
On one of the 365 islands in the Exumas are four-legged, snorting pink mammals, marking their territory in the white sand, or paddling through the clear blue waters. The only residents of Big Major Cay island are pigs, and they’ve become one of the most sought-after experiences in the Bahamas. At any given time, there are about 20 black, pink, or brown spotted pigs on Pig Beach, roaming the island all by themselves.
But where did they come from? Not sure exactly. There’s a legendary tale about the pigs being dropped by sailors to eat, who never came back for them. Another tale insists a local farmer brought them here to start a pig farm. But nothing has been confirmed.
The pigs are normally calm and unbothered unless they’re hungry. Unless you want to be chased, don’t bring food to this island. You can feed them, however, pigs should only be fed fruits and veggies like watermelon, apples, lettuce, and carrots. They’ve got to be kept healthy. Anything else can interrupt their digestive system, causing serious illness or death. According to the National Geographic, at least seven pigs died last year died, allegedly from larges doses of alcohol given by tourists. Freshwater is also a plus, considering their limited supply on the island. Humane Society inspector Ventoi Bethune believes a combination of factors led to their deaths. “We found their natural source of water had dried up, so there wasn’t much fresh water on their island to drink,” she said. Visitors are also advised to not pick up or manhandle the little animals. Now that you know how to care for them, how do you get there?
The best times to visit them, according to Travel + Leisure, is early in the morning when they are hungry. By noon, they are lazy, full and laying around in the sand. Visit any time of the year, but the pigs take shelter during hurricane season every year.
Pig Beach is only accessible by boat and located 40 minutes away from Florida and less than 100 miles southeast of Nassau, another popular destination. For $10, Four C’s Adventures offers full day tours including visiting the pigs and other friendly animals such as iguanas and nurse sharks. You can also rent a boat and explore yourself. The best time to visit would certainly be in the morning. Be careful, they may chase you. Ask this Instagram influencer who was chased and bitten by a pig on the buttocks. New rules and regulations are being set in place regarding interaction with the pigs.