Deformed Pig With “Penis Face” Draws Attention in China

CEN

Tao Lu, a farmer in southern China, recently made the news when he posted pictures of the runt of a litter of piglets. The mother pig birthed a litter of 19 babies, 18 of which were born healthy. One, however, was the runt of the litter and suffered massive birth defects in the form of severe craniofacial deformities. The poor piglet’s snout is pointed, the eyes are misshappen, and there is an odd protrusion coming from the forehead, which unfortunately resembles a penis.

Image credit: CEN

Tao Lu became a local celebrity after images were published in a local newspaper, with many clamoring to see the peculiar piglet. He received dozens of offers from curious individuals wanting to buy the piglet, some even offering more money than he would have gotten by selling the rest of the litter. However, he planned on raising the piglet himself, and using it to continue to attract visitors.

Image credit: CEN

Unfortunately, the piglet died after only a couple of days. It was rejected by its mother, and refused to be fed from a bottle.

There are a number of reasons that this little piglet could have acquired these severe deformities, such as various genetic mutations, environmental factors, or nutrient deficiency. It isn’t known in this case which factor, or combination of factors, was at play. However, the exceptionally large litter size doesn’t make the defects completely unprecedented. While a sow might be pregnant with 18-20 piglets, typically only 10-14 are actually carried to term. The mother only has so many resources available to her developing embryos. With a litter much larger than average, it’s amazing that the mother was able to bring about as many healthy piglets as she did.

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