HAVING an eight-stone toddler run around the house can be chaotic, as Susan Player knows.
Eight stones? A toddler?
Well, these are no ordinary youngsters, they’re her two pet pigs, Hippo and Tulip.
The two animals may only be 10-months-old, but they’ve grown considerably since they arrived in their new home.
“We got them when they were only seven-weeks-old,” said Susan. “They were tiny, and you could hold them in just one hand. But now Tulip weighs eight stone.”
Tulip – who was originally hoped to be a girl – kept his name anyway to fulfil Sarah’s dreams.
“Since I was a little girl, I have always wanted a pink pig called Tulip. But pigs are very social animals and can get bored easily, so we decided to get two,” she explains.
“They were a present for my 50th birthday.”
Spoilt with treats and toys, the pair have been enjoying the sunny weather, but not too much.
“They’ve got a paddling pool each, and love playing with toys. But we have to keep them inside from noon until 3pm when the sun is at its hottest.
“Pigs don’t have any natural sun protection, so we have to apply factor 50 suncream before they go in the pool.
“The reason pigs roll in mud is actually to protect their skin.
“And they don’t sweat either, so they need hosing down with water to keep them cool.”
When they’re not paddling in the water, the duo are busy learning tricks.
“They’re nothing like dogs, they’re much smarter. They can learn a trick within 20 minutes,” a proud Susan explains.
“They sit, and lie down, and nod their heads to say they want something.
“You have to stay one step ahead of them, because they can outsmart you all the time.”
The four-legged friends are often seen in local parks too.
“We had to apply for a license to walk the pigs in the park,” said Susan.
“We take them out on their harnesses and people love them.
“We decided to drive to the parks because we don’t want to cause a road accident with drivers getting distracted by a pig walking down the pavement.
“Even our neighbours love them. And our grandchildren were delighted with them.”
Susan has documented her experience of keeping pet pigs for all to see — and learn from too.
“We set up the Facebook page, Little Pigs at Home to help show people what it’s like, and what lovely animals they are.
“The most important thing is the setup, they need the right spaces.”
Over the last 10 months, Susan has helped other local families to learn about the animals, and then get pigs of their own.
To follow Hippo and Tulip’s adventures, visit: facebook.com and search for Little Pigs At Home.