by Bailey Witt
The domestic pig typically has a large head, with a long snout which is strengthened by a special prenasal bone and a disk of cartilage at the tip. The snout is used to dig into the soil to find food, and is a very acute sense organ. The dental formula of adult pigs is 18.104.22.168.1.4.3, giving a total of 44 teeth. The rear teeth are adapted for crushing. In the male the canine teeth can form tusks, which grow continuously and are sharpened by constantly being ground against each other.
Pigs possess both apocrine and eccrine sweat glands, although the latter appear limited to the snout and dorsonasal areas. Pigs, however, like other "hairless" mammals (e.g. elephants, rhinos, and mole-rats), do not use thermal sweat glands in cooling. Pigs are also less able than many other mammals to dissipate heat from wet mucous membranes in the mouth through panting. Their thermoneutral zone is 16 to 22 °C. At higher temperatures, pigs lose heat by wallowing in mud or water; although it has been suggested that wallowing may serve other functions, such as protection from sunburn, ecto-parasite control, and scent-marking.
Pigs are one of four known mammalian species which possess mutations in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor that protect against snake venom. Mongooses, honey badgers,hedgehogs, and pigs all have modifications to the receptor pocket which prevents the snake venom α-neurotoxin from binding. These represent four separate, independent mutations.