Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo




Island history

Ossabaw Island hogs were brought to North America by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. A population of hogs was left on Ossabaw, an island off the coast of Georgia, to serve as a food source for future explorers. Because of their role in America's colonial days, these hogs are sometimes used by living-history sites, such as Mount Vernon.

Special feet

Their feet are called hooves, which have two toes on each hoof.

Studied by scientists

On Ossabaw Island, food is much less abundant in the spring, so Ossabaw Island hogs developed a unique way of efficiently metabolizing fat. Biologists who are studying obesity have found these hogs fascinating.

Wild cousins

Hogs are even-toed ungulates, in the order Artiodactyla, which includes deer, hippos, antelopes, and sheep. At the National Zoo, you can see collared peccaries, scimitar-horned oryx, cows, alpacas, and goats.