One of the most popular attractions on our day trip to the Bahamas is Pig Island. Here, visitors can play with the legendary swimming pigs of the Bahamas. Today, we’ll take a look at some facts and myths about these pigs- How they got there and when, and why they ended up on this particular island.
How did the Swimming Pigs Get to Pig Island?
Great question. There isn’t a single agreed upon answer, so we’ll look at a few of the stories that get told about their origin.
First off, while it’s commonly referred to as Pig Island, the actual name is Big Major Cay. It’s just to the north of Staniel Cay, the jumping off point for our tour. For more information on booking a day tour from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale areas in Florida, visit our Bahamas Day Tour page.
The most widely held belief is that the pigs were originally left on the island by sailors or pirates. This was actually a documented practice in other parts of the world as far back as the 1500s. Seafarers would drop off livestock on uninhabited islands and then return to feast on it later.
If that’s the case here, they apparently didn’t barbecue all of them. Here’s a fun little fact too: Per ModernFarmer, the term buccaneer actually derives from this practice, as the word comes from boucan, which was the frame feral pig hunters would use to do their barbecuing.
Another theory is that the pigs swam over from a shipwreck somewhere in the area, and simply set up shop on Big Major Cay.
Yet others simply suggest they swam there from a populated island after escaping from an unlucky farmer.
Whatever the truth is, we’re all fortunate for them being there. It’s a fun spot to spend a few hours, and really one of the more unique places to visit in the Exumas.
Where Can I Learn More About the Swimming Pigs?
There’s a few books out on the subject, with the most popular likely being Pigs in Paradise by T.R. Todd. From the book jacket:
Pigs of Paradise is an unlikely story of humble beginnings and a swift rise to stardom. With interviews from historians, world-renowned ecologists, famous pig owners, and boat captains, it thoughtfully considers what this phenomenon says about not only these animals but also about us.
There is also a documentary produced in 2014 called When Pigs Swim.
This award winning short documentary (PREVIEW ONLY) is dedicated to the wonderful people of Exuma, and of course, the world famous swimming pigs. The full version of When Pigs Swim premiered at the 2014 Bahamas International Film Festival, where it won the Haven Award of best Documentary Short. It has since appeared in four other film festivals. Directed by Charlie Smith at Earthbeat Productions. Written by Jeff Todd. Produced by Peter Nicholson and Tyrone Munroe.
Getting to Pig Beach
Staniel Air provides both day trips and charter flights leaving from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. Please contact us to book your flight to Pig Beach today!