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Thread: Do hogs actually eat dead human bodies?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW MDSchafer's Avatar
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    Do hogs actually eat dead human bodies?

    So, I'm home sick and bing watching Archer, again. There's an episode where a radioactive pig starts eating a bunch of dead North Koreans.

    Do hogs actually eat dead bodies? How many hogs would it take to do so in a timely manor? Also, could they be normal hogs, or would you sort of have to train them by feeding them other dead animals?
    Last edited by MDSchafer; 11-24-2017 at 11:59 PM.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDSchafer View Post
    So, I'm home sick and bing watching Archer, again. There's an episode where a radioactive pig starts eating a bunch of dead North Koreans.

    Do hogs actually eat dead bodies? How many hogs would it take to do so in a timely manor? Also, could they be normal hogs, or would you sort of have to train them by feeding them other dead animals?
    Sure -- ask Robert Pickton.

    Hogs, like humans (long pig) are omnivorous, afaik.

  3. #3
    down the rabbit hole of research... CWatts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
    Sure -- ask Robert Pickton.

    Hogs, like humans (long pig) are omnivorous, afaik.
    I think Mr. Wu's pigs mostly ate bodies, considering Deadwood had no shortage of corpses.

    I went on a ghost tour of Harper's Ferry a few years ago. One of the spirits people claim to see is Dangerfield Newby, one of John Brown's men who was killed in the raid. As an insult to this slain black freedom fighter the townsfolk fed him to their hogs. Then they claimed the pork was particularly good that year....
    Last edited by CWatts; 11-25-2017 at 01:20 AM.

  4. #4
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    Hogs will eat live human bodies.

    caw
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  5. #5
    Have pen, will travel Cindyt's Avatar
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    Hogs will eat anything, even their own kind.
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  6. #6
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Dude, hogs will eat anything. They're one of the most potentially dangerous animals to carry the "domesticated" label.

    Quick story:

    Kid goes to visit grandparents on farm and promptly gets warned to steer clear of the hog-pen. However, there's a lovely tree with a branch that grows over said hog-pen, and all the kids like to swing over it because it makes them feel like they're being a little dangerous.

    Kid takes a turn on the rope swing and drops a shoe. Kid won't retrieve shoe because Grandpa said "Stay away from the hogs!"

    Kid being a kid, kicks off the other shoe and runs off to play. Meanwhile, Grandpa comes out to feed the hogs and sees the little shoe. Starts screaming bloody murder because he assumes the kid fell into the pen and the hogs ate her whole. Which they will do. Bone and all.

    Kid hears the screams and comes running. Grandpa is so happy kid isn't hog-chow he doesn't punish her. Kid avoids the hog-pen for the rest of her life.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Davy The First's Avatar
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    Love Archer.

    I thought he gave one of his exceptionally informed mini-lectures on the whole pig eating abilities in the clip?

  8. #8
    Seashell Seller Layla Nahar's Avatar
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    They have some serious flesh ripping teeth, for omnivores.
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  9. #9
    Snarkenfaugister Friendly Frog's Avatar
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    It's not just hogs either. A lot of otherwise perfectly happy herbivores like deer or tortoises will nibble a carcass if they come across it. Butterflies even. But unlike hogs these are unlikely to eat the lot. Still, I never quite looked the same way at deer since seeing that one pic of a deer with a human rib sticking from its mouth, looking straight at the camera. That shot was even taken in a actual study to see what sort of animals would snack on a human carcass. Oh yeah, Bambi will happily take a bite...
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  10. #10
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Pigs are pretty omnivorous by nature, but many animals we think of as herbivores will eat meat and bones sometimes, maybe for the mineral content. Hippos are known to eat carcasses, and sometimes fresher meat, as well. Killing someone and feeding them to the hippos might not work for most story settings, though.

    Domestic dogs will even eat human bodies if they're hungry enough (loyalty to one's human pack only goes so far). I believe this happened during the Irish Potato famine and the black death and other historical times when people were dying en masse and there were packs of feral, hungry dogs running around. I have little trouble believing ravenous porkers might consume a human body, though I don't know of they really eat all the bones.

    I poked around a bit on the web to see how common it is for pigs to actually eat humans and whether or not they really do consume all the bones and found a lot of anecdotal and apocryphal information, but nothing that was extensively documented. It's a common enough trope in media that it has a TV tropes entry, but so do many things that are over stated or completely untrue. There are many historical accounts of pigs eating human bodies, including during the genocides in Serbia, but it's harder to document whether or not they typically leave no trace at all. Wild pigs scavange, though, so it makes sense they'd have adaptations that allow them to eat body parts other animals might have passed over.

    I do know that pig toilets are a real thing in some parts of the world. I don't know if the pigs used to dispose of human waste were also eaten by humans. I hope not.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_toilet
    Last edited by Roxxsmom; 11-25-2017 at 04:47 AM.
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    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Cats will eat their human, too, if said human drops dead, and they usually go for the face.

    https://news.nationalgeographic.com/...nsics-science/

  12. #12
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyia View Post
    Cats will eat their human, too, if said human drops dead, and they usually go for the face.

    https://news.nationalgeographic.com/...nsics-science/
    Doesn't surprise me. I think there's a very good reason we haven't selectively bred domestic cats to be the size of large dogs. Your pet requires that you feed it daily, and if you fail to provide this, you may fulfill this need personally. There are records of dogs eating their owner's faces when they're passed out or dead too. It may be that part of the body provides the easiest access? Disturbing.
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  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Axl Prose's Avatar
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    No training needed. They'll eat whatever. Wild hogs are a pretty tough breed, I've seen them destroy a dog before. And yes, they will eat even their own kind.

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post
    Doesn't surprise me. I think there's a very good reason we haven't selectively bred domestic cats to be the size of large dogs. Your pet requires that you feed it daily, and if you fail to provide this, you may fulfill this need personally. There are records of dogs eating their owner's faces when they're passed out or dead too. It may be that part of the body provides the easiest access? Disturbing.
    Cats are not domesticated -- they just choose to live with us, and to eat us if need be, heh. Maine coons are getting there -- I think there's a whole 'mega coon' movement, but regular Maines and Norweigan Forest cats are not so infrequently 3 or 4 ft tall and 30-40lbs.

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    practical experience, FTW MDSchafer's Avatar
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    I am so glad I asked this question

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    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDSchafer View Post
    I am so glad I asked this question
    Dude, this is nothing. Off the top of my head I can remember participating in threads about how a burning body is basically a fat candle, how toxic the average kitchen actually is on any given day, and the best method for a vampire to reheat human blood taken off the ice at a blood bank - all withing the first year or so of joining this board.

    Writers know weird things and are terrifyingly willing to discuss them in detail.

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    Snarkenfaugister Friendly Frog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post
    Pigs are pretty omnivorous by nature, but many animals we think of as herbivores will eat meat and bones sometimes, maybe for the mineral content. Hippos are known to eat carcasses, and sometimes fresher meat, as well. Killing someone and feeding them to the hippos might not work for most story settings, though.
    You could rather have the hippos do the killing. Lethal buggers, them. In some areas one is more likely to be killed by territorial hippos than any other animal.

    Still, there aren't many animals I think that can make a body disappear entirely on their own. Breaking it up and dispersing the parts is often as far as it goes. Bones specifically pose a challenge. I can't think of a single animal that can handle bone and meat in equal measure. While hyenas do have the power to break up big bones, they tend to go for the marrow inside and not the actual bone matter. And not everybody has pet lammergeiers as they are the only animals that immediately come to my mind that are able digest bone. And probably some deepsea worm that lives off whalefall.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
    Hogs will eat live human bodies.

    caw
    This. I worked on a hog farm in my youth, and this was a constant threat. Don't ever go down in the hog pen! (lose your footing) Additionally, we had to constantly shuffle our feet, as the hogs would eat the boots right off of them if given the chance. Hell, they eat their own young.

    Horrible animals, pigs. I used to feel guilty about eating them because of their intelligence, but after awhile, I realized that they were complete A-holes, and cannibalistic into the bargain, so I quit feeling bad.

    ETA: I don't know whether pigs will eat bones completely or not, but I can tell you that the muck in a common (domestic) pig yard will often be plenty deep enough to hide bones if somebody isn't actively searching for them with tools.
    Last edited by Bren McDonnall; 11-27-2017 at 09:14 AM.
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  19. #19
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Even if they don't eat the bones completely, they do trample everything in sight (and out of sight), making it possible that remaining bones get pulverized beyond recognition.

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Just in case anyone is using this for a crime novel though -- it's extraordinarily hard to dispose of a body so completely that someone looking can't find traces and ID it. People have been identified (and their killer convicted), off bits spewed out of the high-powered woodchipper the body was thrown into, as well as bits left on a hog farm.

  21. #21
    Tending bar by the litterbox. Thomas Vail's Avatar
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    We've gotten this far into the thread and no one has linked Bricktop's speech from Snatch?

    The thing to keep in mind is that as omnivorous scavengers, pigs will eat anything, they are quite strong, and have powerful jaws. A lot of them have also spent their lives scarfing down everything that is dropped into their trough, and so that combination has made them useful throughout history for disposing of all sorts of things.

  22. #22
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
    Just in case anyone is using this for a crime novel though -- it's extraordinarily hard to dispose of a body so completely that someone looking can't find traces and ID it. People have been identified (and their killer convicted), off bits spewed out of the high-powered woodchipper the body was thrown into, as well as bits left on a hog farm.
    If a carnivorous animal is suspected of ingesting a human, then the animal will usually be slaughtered so that its stomach contents (and teeth) can be checked for residue. Even if the animal had just attacked a human, but not killed them, it would likely be put down.

    It won't fool a thorough modern investigation , but if your crime is pre-CSI days, or something like a historical novel where someone needs to dispose of an abusive ex, then a hog pen might be tidier than the Fried Green Tomatoes / Lamb to the Slaughter route.

  23. #23
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    They better eat a human because I just let a bad guy be eaten by three very hungry six hundred pound Duroc's in a WIP.
    Husband of one of my wife's cousins raised hogs over in North Carolina for quite a few years and he was my "Technical Advisor" on the scenes and he said they "damn sure would eat a feller."

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    It's true that modern investigators can trace the bodies through the pigs, but they've first got to be looking in the pigs.
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  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW Anarchic Q's Avatar
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    *Ctrl-f Pickton*
    There's my boy!

    Yes, hogs will eat humans. Allegedly Robert Pickton fed the remains of his murder victims to his hogs.
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