Swimming With Dolphins? So Cliché. At This Beach You Can Swim With Pigs.

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
June 9 2014 1:03 PM

The Swimming Pigs of the Bahamas

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

At the tautologically titled Big Major Cay in the Bahamas, the tranquil turquoise waters shimmer and swirl. They shimmer and swirl because a bunch of big ol' pigs are paddling their trotters toward an incoming boat.

The pigs of Big Major Cay spend their days lolling about on the beach, catching waves, and swimming out to greet visiting boats in the hope of scoring food.

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Legends tell of how these porcine members of the population came to reside in the Bahamas. One story features the pigs being dumped on the island by sailors who planned to come back and eat them. Another characterizes the pigs as brave shipwreck survivors marooned on the remote cay.

The more mundane story is that the animals are descended from domesticated pigs that were kept at a home on nearby Staniel Cay during the '90s. Pungent piggy smells wafting from the sty caused neighbors to complain, resulting in the hogs being relocated to Big Major Cay. Visitors to the island fed the tame pigs, which led to their habit of swimming out to beg food from approaching boats.

Here's what that looks like, courtesy of Dennis Walsh on YouTube:

Local tourism operators have embraced the inadvertent emergence of Pig Beach, as Big Major Cay is now known. You can now visit and swim with the pigs—just watch that the enthusiastic oinkers don't mistake your finger for a hot dog.


View Pig Beach in a larger map

Ella Morton is a writer working on The Atlas Obscura, a book about global wonders, curiosities, and esoterica adapted from Atlas Obscura. Follow her on Twitter.

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