Not all of Mother Earth’s creatures are born identical – even within the same species. Indeed, this bizarre creature is unlike almost anything anyone has ever seen. Instead of a normal, healthy animal, it almost looks like a strange blend between two animals. It’s no wonder then that people were left completely baffled when it was born.
It’s no secret that farmers live particularly stressful lives. In fact, in the U.S., it’s one of the 10 most stressful jobs anyone can undertake, with depression affecting about 20 percent of farmers. And, of course, farming means long hours, few days off and working in difficult, all-weather conditions. So making things as easy as possible is essential.
Priority number one, then, is maintaining animals’ health. Indeed, it’s vital that farmers’ livestock is well looked after, to avoid costly treatments and delays. When an animal is born with deformities, it could signal bad news for a farmer. On the other hand, though, many of these animals can live perfectly normal lives.
Take Trinity, for instance – a calf with three legs, born on Shelby Hendershot’s farm in 2009. These days, she’s a healthy adult, and Henderson would therefore have been remiss to put her down at birth. Indeed, veterinary pathologist David Steffen told PBS in April 2017, “It’s critically important for people, when they see something abnormal, to contact someone before they destroy the calf.”
Yet no matter how experienced a farmer may be, there are still things that can surprise them. And in those instances, it’s a good idea to see just what can be done before making any rash decisions. Either way, Mother Nature is very good at baffling otherwise knowledgeable farmers with unique animal deformities.
That’s exactly what happened in Pramaoy, Cambodia. Indeed, in 2016, farmers in southeast Asia found a strangely deformed piglet among their latest litter. And it doesn’t really look like a piglet at all – in fact, it resembles another, entirely different and much larger animal.
Yes, the strange creature born from the adult pig looks more like an elephant – albeit a tiny elephant. Its snout is extended enough to resemble a trunk, while its ears are large and floppy. Really, besides its size, it’s only its pink color that properly separates it from its giant, grey doppelganger.
However, the poor little piglet’s stature is hardly anything close to an elephant’s. Indeed, photographs of the deformed animal show it as a skinny, listless creature. And it seems barely able to open its eyes, instead keeping them shut tight.
Whether or not the piglet has survived is a mystery almost as large as the reasons behind its deformities. Indeed, it could still be alive today, as many deformed animals – such as Trinity the three-legged calf – make it to adulthood. Unlike Trinity though, chances are the piglet will have been living a very difficult life if it survived.
However, it’s far more likely that the piglet passed away. After all, a similar case emerged two years prior, in 2014, when a piglet was born in China with comparable deformities. This unfortunate animal was the only member of its eight-strong litter to carry such malformations, with its seven siblings born perfectly healthy.
While the deformed piglet may have been born with a similar appearance – that is, floppy ears and a trunk-like snout – the one thing it wasn’t born with was a mouth. And, tragically, it died just two hours after being born on a farm in the northeastern Chinese province of Jilin.
To preserve the unnatural specimen, however, one of the farmers decided to freeze the piglet’s corpse. And, of course, they needed proof that the animal was real. After all, who would believe that a piglet could resemble an elephant?
That said, these aren’t the only two cases of piglets sharing features with elephants. In fact, a third case occurred as far back as 2010. And sure enough, the piglet again had what could only be described as a trunk instead of a snout and large, floppy ears.
Still, it’s not just elephant-like features that afflict deformed piglets. Indeed, a multitude of piglets with various malformations have been found. And they carry all kinds of bizarre abnormalities – some even stranger than those the piglet born in Cambodia had.
In 2015, for instance, a man discovered a piglet wandering the streets of Tianjin, China. But, unsurprisingly, this was no ordinary piglet. In fact, it actually had two heads, including two mouths – both of which it was able to eat from.
Again, it’s unknown whether the pig is still alive today. But at the time, the man who found it was prepared to look after it, with the help of experts. With three ears shared across its two heads, the piglet is, or was, undoubtedly one of the most fascinatingly bizarre creatures ever seen.
Meanwhile, a piglet born into a village in southwest China proved similarly strange thanks to its distinctive facial features. Indeed, rather than a traditional pig, it bore a closer resemblance to a primate, with its large forehead and eyes on the front of its head, rather than the sides.
Quite how that evolutionary oddity occurred was beyond even experts, who agreed that it’s impossible for monkeys and pigs to reproduce. However, researchers have proven that mixing human and pig DNA is possible while testing pig organs for human transplants.
Nevertheless, there are other theories surrounding the cause of these deformities. Ib Pedersen, a pig farmer from Denmark, decided to test whether his animals’ diets were the root cause. “When using GM feed I saw symptoms of bloat, stomach ulcers, high rates of diarrhea, pigs born with deformities,” Pedersen told The Ecologist in 2013. “But when I switched [to non-GM feed] these problems went away, some within a matter of days.”
Whatever the reasons behind these bizarre animals’ disfigurements, there’s no denying how surprising they must have seemed to the farmers who brought them into the world. Indeed, even for people who breed livestock for a living, there’s surely not much more astonishing than finding a tiny, pink piglet with the facial features of an enormous elephant, let alone a pig with two heads.