Pigs Can Learn (and Teach Others) How To Shovel
Until recently, we had no idea that pigs knew how to use tools. That is until a researcher spotted Visayan warty pigs in a Paris zoo using sticks and bark to shovel dirt and leaves out of their nests. After observing pigs for two years and recording hours of footage, researchers found that the pigs only used the shovels when they were building nests as shelters for soon-to-be-born piglets. In the wild, expecting Visayan warty pig mothers build their nests with their snouts. But in captivity, the animals seem to prefer tools. Like dolphin sponging, this appears to be a learned behavior that female pigs teach their daughters. A male pig attempted to mimic the behavior but seemed unable to master it. Scientists are not surprised to find that pigs are able to use tools. The animals are highly intelligent and, despite their reputation as slobs, are actually quite tidy.