Pig Beach – Big Major Cay, Bahamas - Atlas Obscura

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Pig Beach

Big Major Cay, Bahamas

In paradise, feral pigs have claimed an island all to themselves.  


Just north of Staniel Cay in the Outer Exumas is Big Major Cay. On this small, uninhabited island, there’s a group of feral pigs.

The pigs are regularly fed by those who go out to visit them, which is often those staying at Fowl Cay Resort, where boats are available and all the regulars direct visitors to the pigs because they never cease to amaze.

If you are offshore in a boat, the pigs will swim out to you. But beware: If you get too shallow (like three feet of water or so), the pigs can—and probably will—jump into your boat and look for your lunch. But that’s only if they’re feeling especially friendly.

The pigs control the island, roaming on their own terms, but they prefer to stay in the shade during the sunny hours, venturing onto the beach and into the waters when it cools down a bit. It’s unclear how the pigs got there, some believing they survived a shipwreck, others say that sailors left them there for a future meal and never returned. 

Recently, up to 10 of the Bahamas’ swimming pigs were found dead. Though initial reports suggested that tourists had given the pigs fatal doses of alcohol, Humane Society inspector Ventoi Bethune told National Geographic that the dead swine had likely ingested sand. Another theory was that this was brought about by the unusually dry January. 

Veterinarians who visited the site found large quantities of sand in the deceased animals’ stomachs, which Bethune says may have been caused by a recent influx of visitors throwing small amounts of food on the beach.

Know Before You Go

From Nassau, take a plane to Staniel Cay. Rent a boat from the Staniel Cay Yacht Club and go north about a mile. It is also possible to flight directly from the USA to George Town (Great Exuma) and go from there directly by boat. You can also fly from Fort Lauderdale to Staniel Cay with Watermarkers Air.

Another option is to take a day trip from Nassau. Just bear in mind that those tours take up to eight to nine hours, are subject to weather conditions, and are not suitable for expectant mothers, infants, and people with back, knee, neck, and heart problems or conditions affected by high-speed travel.

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