The New Biology: Seapig!

Unlike landpigs, I'm a simply filthy creature.

A rare picture of a leaping seapig taken by a Hebridean fisherman.

Social grouping: Seapigs live in nests, consisting of an extended family group of around 15 individuals. The dominant sow has first pick of the boars during mating season. Worker seapigs build 'nurseries' from seaweed and driftwood, and supply the dominant sow with food. If the colony is threatened, all adult seapigs will attack the threat with their trotters, forming a protective circle around the young.

#58424 - Seapig! (porcus marinus)

Nests of seapigs were found on the Baltic coast in 1976. They have subsequently been spotted around the north of Scotland and Scandinavia.

Number of legs: 4

Physical appeaeance: The seapig resembles a domesticated pig, with a sleek, pinkish-grey hide and sharpened spade-like trotters, which are used for swimming and spearing fish.

Size: Pig size. Seapiglets are wee things.

Habitat: Rocky coastlines in northern lattitudes.

Diet: Varied, consisting largely of fish, sea-turnips and seaswill, which they filter from seawater through their baleen.



Reproduction: Female seapigs select their mate, and this is on the basis of a curious ritual, known as 'cards' - a variant on the lekking behaviour seen in many land-dwelling ruminants. The boar seapigs will compete at 'cards' while displaying their magnificent colourful hides to the females. Intercourse is ventral-ventral, as with dugongs. After a gestation period of a couple of months, the sow gives birth to a litter of 4-6 little baby seapiglets. These are capable of swimming the minute they flop out of the womb, and can be seen flapping around all sweetly on the end of their placentas, in a big pretty fan. Seapiglet has electric attack.




Relationship with man: Reclusive as they are, a few seapigs have been domesticated by Vikings, who use them to fetch seatruffles from the bottom of the sea. Most fishermen view them as vermins who break nets with their sharp trotters, and will stab them with spikes if they can. Otherwise they have been used to get mines off boats, and sometimes, for a laugh, right, you can feed them Wagon Wheels, and if they have too many they explode!

Useful byproducts: Sea-ham is a great delicacy amongst posh ladies with cigarette holders, and whilst the WWF Treaty of 1983 banned the hunting of seapigs for their blubber, it can still fetch high prices on the Oriental market, where it is considered to have laxative properties. In medieval times, the horn of the legendary nharpig was prized as having the ability to cure disease.

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