Swimming Pigs of Big Major Cay – Bahamas - Atlas Obscura
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Swimming Pigs of Big Major Cay

An island ruled by pigs, with a special skill. 

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 that sailors left them there for a future meal and never returned. 

Recently, seven of the Bahamas’ swimming pigs died after tourists fed them beer and rum. The animals were found dead in the water off the country’s Exuma Cays, leading the government to ban visitors from feeding the pigs. 

Know Before You Go

From Nassau, take 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.