I've heard of the Vegetable Lamb, a creature from medieval folklore that was part plant and part animal, being a lamb whose belly was attached to the ground by a thick stem. (It survived by eating the grass around itself.) I've also heard of the Woolly Horse, a creature that P.T. Barnum claimed had been found by explorer John C. Fremont in the Rockies and which was "part elephant, deer, horse, buffalo, camel, and sheep." (It was actually just a horse that happened to have curly hair, and which Barnum, not Fremont, had "discovered" in a barn in Connecticut.) Now the Woolly Pig can be added to this list of curly-haired curiosities.
The Woolly Pig is a pig that looks like a lamb, thanks to a curly coat of hair. Yes, it is a real creature. Its proper name is the Mangalitzas. A farmer in Shropshire has just introduced these pigs to England
, importing them from their home in Hungary. The website of the Pilgerweidli Organic Farm
has a good description (and better picture) of these creatures:
Mangalitzas are an ancient breed of Woolly pigs from the area of Austria-Hungary... At one time their meat products were in demand all over Europe to such an extent it was traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange and a hundred thousand animals a year were sold from Hungary to the West. In Switzerland the pigs were a very important product where they were slowly overtaken in importance by the dominant "English" style animals which are more suited to "intensive" rearing.