Pig Beach, Exuma, Bahamas

Swimming Pigs, Exuma, Bahamas

March 1 is National Pig Day, so what better day to discuss our favorite swimming pigs in the Bahamas? On Pig Beach (also known as Pig Island, Major Cay, and Big Major Cay) in the Exumas a colony of feral pigs roams this otherwise uninhabited island. The pigs were brought to the island 30 years ago by Wayde Nixon and today they’re a delightful tourist - and very Instagramable - attraction. 

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s cover the basics of interacting with animals: don’t feed them (especially not alcohol), don’t try to ride them, don’t touch them, and don’t harass them. Swim with them, admire them, and take photos. That’s it. You’re visiting their home and invading their space, treat them with respect. With any live animal, you should exercise caution and that includes not turning your back on them to snap a selfie.

For years the infamous swimming pigs were fed by tourists, however, in early 2017 a group of the pigs died. It was first thought that they were killed by tourists feeding them alcohol, but it was later determined that the pigs ingested too much sand from eating food on the beach. The depleted freshwater supply on the island is also said to have contributed to their deaths. That said, feeding bans and regulations are being discussed, so if you do take a tour to swim with the pigs, check with your tour guide for the latest information and follow the rules set forth.

If feeding is allowed, avoid junk food. It may be funny to watch Babe snack on a Pop-Tart, but it’s unhealthy for the pig. Stick to feeding the pigs fruits and veggies and feed them in the water so they don’t accidentally ingest sand when picking up food off the beach. Perhaps the best option is feeding the pigs fresh bottle water as the island’s supply is limited. And if you do have food in hand, expect to be swarmed by a group of hungry pigs.