Oink, oink! Nashville Zoo announces the arrival of four Juliana pigs to its popular, interactive Critter Encounters area.

The sweet swine includes three females born in the same litter and one male who shares the same father with the girls. The pigs will stay in Critter Encounters so Nashville Zoo guests can interact with them. Leash training is also on tap so they can take walks throughout the zoo grounds. During colder months, the pigs will have access to a heated indoor area. In warmer weather, they can choose to be out and about or retreat into their house when they need to rest.

"We hope when guests interact with our Juliana pigs they will be inspired to help other species of pigs that are declining in the wild once they see firsthand how intelligent and special pigs are," says Megan Cohn, Nashville Zoo contact area supervisor.

ABOUT JULIANA PIGS

Juliana pigs are highly intelligent, and they have an easy-going temperament. They get along well with people and other animals, making them great ambassadors animals for the zoo.

The pigs also have an impeccable sense of smell. Their noses end in a floating disk of cartilage attached to muscles, making them more sensitive than human noses. The pigs' noses are strengthened by a pre-nasal bone, which enhances their digging capability. Pigs often receive training for truffle and mushroom hunting. Law enforcement are now using pigs as well.

While domestic pig populations are stable, some wild populations are endangered. Pigs in general are native to Europe and Asia, but were later introduced as domesticated animals and can now be found throughout the world. Juliana pigs are a breed of domestic pig that originated in Europe through selective breeding of various types of pigs.

A mature Juliana pig will weigh between 20 - 40 pounds and be between 10 - 16 inches tall. This species does 95 percent of its growing during the first year and is an adult at two years. Juliana pigs more closely resemble a small version of a feral pig than they do the pot belly pig.

NASHVILLE ZOO INFO

Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Road, Nashville. Hours through March 7 are 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily. Starting March 8 (through Oct. 10), hours are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily. Admission is as follows: Mon - Thu $17 adults, $12 ages 2 - 12; Fri & Sun $18 adults, $13 kids; Sat $19 adults, $14 kids.

Call 615-833-1534 or visit nashvillezoo.org.