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As if the idea of swimming with dolphins or stingrays isn’t exciting enough, the Bahamas is also home to a population of swimming pigs. They are found specifically on Big Major Cay (also known as Pig Beach and Pig Island) and have taken over the island, so much so that it is now uninhabited by humans.

While swimming pigs may seem unnatural, the animals are right at home.  Today there are over 20 pigs living on the island and they share the isolated space with a handful of stray cats and goats.

You can venture out to Pig Island and catch a glimpse, have a swim with the unlikely water-goers, or sign up for one of several guided tours. While the pigs are friendly and don’t mind sharing the ocean, it is important to not get too close, as they are still wild animals.


There are a number of tales explaining the origin of the Bahamian pig.

One legend has it that the pigs were dropped off by a group of sailors who intended to come back and cook them for a meal, but never did. Another story claims that the pigs were survivors of a shipwreck and they were able to swim to shore, while their keepers were not so lucky.

Yet another fable says that the swimming pigs escaped from a nearby island, making a new home on Big Major Cay.

Nobody knows for sure. What is certain, however, is their unique place in Bahamian folklore.


Pigs are perhaps the last animals that you would expect to see swimming in warm Caribbean waters. However, they have become very good swimmers. The paddling pigs have caught on to the fact that people will feed them from the boats.

While the sight of a wild pig eagerly swimming towards incoming boats may be odd, it’s all part of the Bahamian experience. Feeding off the scraps left from yachts for years, Bahamian swimming pigs come paddling with the sound of a boat’s motor.


Bahamian swimming pigs are undoubtedly a fascinating sight. With the secret out on Pig Island, and the snouted creatures happily swimming around, waiting for the next boat of people with delectable scraps, it’s important to keep in mind some safety tips before your trip.

Swimming pigs are intriguing, adorable and bring a smile to your face, but the experience should also be approached with care.

  • Never touch the pigs. They are wild!
  • The safest way to feed the pigs is by tossing food from the safety of your boat.
  • If you are feeling brave and decide to hop in the water to feed them, be sure to throw the food in their vicinity. Watch your fingers if you decide to hold out the treats. 

The pigs are all about food, and can’t get enough of it. With just the sound of a motor or glimpse of a boat, the pigs will come a-paddling. Since nowadays they associate boats and humans with food, it is necessary to be a conscientious visitor to Pig Island, for the safety of both you and the pigs.

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