The Bearded Pig is a pig with a huge, bushy beard. I cannot emphasise this enough. They are found in rainforests in Southeast Asia and have a beard.
They eat everything from roots and fruits to worms, eggs, small vertebrates and carrion. I'm quite certain that this wide and varied diet allows them to devote their attentions on their beard.
They reach around 1.5 metres (5 feet) long not including the tail. Males are only slightly bigger than the female and have a more pronounced beard. Female Bearded Pigs have a beard, too. No beard envy here.
|Image: Drew Avery via Flickr|
There are two subspecies of Bearded Pig, Sus barbatus barbatus and Sus barbatus oi. You can tell them apart by looking at their beards. The former has a shorter beard around the snout, the latter has longer whiskers along the cheeks. There is also a whole other species called Sus ahoenobarbus, the Palawan Bearded Pig. It took genetic tests to find out that it wasn't just a third subspecies, that's how similar their beards are.
Bearded Pigs are also unique among pigs in that some populations migrate every year. Hundreds of them get together to walk the same old route through the night, retiring to the thickets by day. No-one is quite sure why they do it but people assume it's something to do with food, even though I should think it obvious that it has something to do with beard.
|Image: Stepanka Nemcova|
After mating, females build a nest out of vegetation and give birth to 7 or 8 young. They have that brown and yellowish stripy pattern that serves as camouflage and are woefully unbearded.
It will take 5 weeks or so for those youngsters to grow in confidence, lose the camouflage and start growing their beard. They'll remain with mother for up to a year, learning survival techniques and the finer points of maintaining an attractive, luxuriant beard.