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Swimming Pigs Exumas The Bahamas by Patrick Bennett
Bahamas, Exuma, Staniel Cay

Uncommon Attraction: The Swimming Pigs of Big Major’s Spot in The Exumas

Uncommon Attraction: The Swimming Pigs of Big Major’s Spot in The Exumas

On the tiny island of Big Major’s Spot, adjacent to Staniel Cay and almost smack in the middle of The Bahamas, you’ll find a pristine white sand beach with a rather portly bunch of regulars: famous swimming pigs.

This is what happens when someone else plays with your food!

The story starts on nearby Staniel Cay where a local entrepreneur kept pigs at his home in the tiny island’s one small settlement. Sure, locals ate high on the hog, so to speak, but there was one problem: that sty stunk. The solution was a simple one. With plenty of uninhabited islands nearby, our entrepreneur simply transported his pigs to Big Major’s Spot and left them there.

On some Saturdays, he’d return and there’d be a slaughter so locals from Staniel Cay, to Black Point island, and  beyond would be able to buy their pork for Sunday supper.

It was a win-win for everyone.

There was no more stink in town, plus free range pigs! (And we all know that happy pigs make happy bacon!)

Swimming Pigs in the Exumas by Patrick Bennett
Swimming Pigs in the Exumas by Patrick Bennett

Everything was great… until tourists came along. They began feeding the pigs as a novelty when boating through the cays. As pigs aren’t called pigs for nothing, they soon began swimming out to the boats in an effort to get as many eats as they could the moment vessels appeared on the horizon. Of course, this only increased the novelty of these rumored-to-be-shipwrecked beasts and soon their fame began to spread.

Heading to the Exumas? You gotta see these crazy swimming pigs!

With all this attention, the powers that be stepped in to somewhat protect the pigs and an uncommon Caribbean attraction was born.

Swimming Pigs, Exumas, The Bahamas by Patrick Bennett
Swimming Pigs, Exumas, The Bahamas by Patrick Bennett

On a recent stay at the Embrace Exuma Resort, I hopped a boat to check out these pigs for myself. With me were Angie Orth of AngieAway fame, plus the teams behind Green Global Travel and The Planet D travel blogs.

True to form, upon sliding into The Bahamas’ more laid back version of The Bay of Pigs, one big white porker began making its way out toward our boat… But then it abruptly stopped. Maybe 10 feet into the water and still standing, not swimming, it waited. Looking around, the bay was dotted with about 10 boats – from small dinghies, to twin motor fishing boats, on up to three-story yachts with water slides tacked onto their sides.

It seemed like our pig friends did not want for food.

As we got closer, I remember someone lamenting:

Wait, that’s a just regular pig. I told my friends back home about swimming sea pigs and we imagined they’d be more more like sea cows, you know, manatees.

Swimming Pigs, Exumas, The Bahamas by Patrick Bennett
Swimming Pigs, Exumas, The Bahamas by Patrick Bennett

Nope, these are just wild pigs. Big, hairy, pushy, and somewhat entitled wild pigs.

Tip: Being that they’re wild, you don’t want to get too close. Swimming swine have been known to pig out on humans who taunt them with food, or otherwise harass them. So be careful, all it takes is one bite and you’ll be the one squealing like a pig!

  • Mary @ Green Global Travel

    Love the pig photos, especially the close up!

    • uncommoncarib

      Thanks, Mary!

  • Angie Orth

    Some of my favorite swimming pig pics ever!

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  • Marysia

    Is it true that the pigs are no longer being slaughtered? I am hoping this is the case but this makes one wonder how they control the population.

  • Linda Robinson

    Happy pigs make happy bacon? They are now considered wild pigs and protected. I can’t believe you really said that. As a lover of pigs and not for selfish dietary reasons, I’m offended.

    • uncommoncarib

      What can I say? Bacon is delicious.

      • Linda Robinson

        I’m happy to see you can spell….barely- and changed your deliscous.

        • uncommoncarib

          Yeah, hadn’t had my bacon yet this morning. (Any way you spell it, it was delicious!)

  • Dee Slosberg

    ‘Happy pigs make happy bacon’ ???? Really?? What kind of fucked up sentiment is that to say to people who are looking to take a vacation to see something as beautiful as animals enjoying their free lives in a beautiful setting, and mainly just coming there to connect with these animals as animals, not food. Stop talking like theyre livestock.. Its 2016. Time to rewrite that childish sentence when all anyone wants to do is pet these adorable creatures. Shameful and disgusting you wrote that. You’d think this is Burger King. Really classless.

    • uncommoncarib

      You know what’s classless? Going into someone’s house and dropping f-bombs all over the place for no reason. Did you read the article? Those animals were livestock. They were turned into bacon. And I bet they tasted like sunshine.