Are you in the market for a potbellied pig?
If not, we urge you to reconsider, but if you answered yes and a cute little porky pet is something you want, you’re in luck.
The Better Piggies Rescue in Phoenix currently has a surplus of pigs, with 67 needing sanctuary — well above their usual average of 30.
“It’s a problem. We’re getting a lot of calls for owner surrenders and a lot for rescues. A lot of times, people don’t know what to do with a potbellied pig. They can become mature adults at eight weeks old. They start to hump. They start to get aggressive. Instead of spaying and neutering, they drop them off,” Danielle Betterman, owner of Better Piggies Rescue in Phoenix, told 12 News.
Other pigs were abandoned on the streets of Phoenix or in the desert, where Betterman says they’re likely to struggle. “They don’t know how to get their own food and a lot of times they become food for other animals,” she said.
The uptick in available pigs comes after the number of so-called “mini-pigs” — a catch-all term that includes virtually every small-breed pig — in North America surged from about 200,000 in 1998 to “perhaps as many as a million” in recent years, according to National Geographic.
One of the results of this pig breeding boom is an increase in unwanted pigs, which has led Better Piggies and many other Arizona shelters to experience surges in surrenders and rescues in recent years.
Betterman hopes that people will consider adopting potbellied pigs, which are innately curious and social creatures.
Pigs can weigh anywhere from 75 to 300 pounds for potbellies, Betterman told 12 News, and the average potbellied pig lives between 12-18 years, though they can occasionally live past 20.
For those who are genuinely interested in adopting a potbelly, Betterman advises that you “Get your pig spayed or neutered immediately. That’s the number one thing. As soon as you get them spayed or neutered, their attitude changes, their demeanor changes. They become calm beautiful pigs and you’re able to keep them as a pet.”
To learn more about Better Piggies Rescue’s adoption process, visit betterpiggiesrescue.org.