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Big Major Cay's Swimming Pigs

Wildlife Viewing Area
The Swimming Pigs near Staniel Cay, The Exumas – Staniel Cay Yacht Club

Just north of Staniel Cay, a drove of pigs lives on an island of their own called Big Major's Cay. In the summer of 1992, tour operator Wayde Nixon from Staniel Cay was very concerned about the Gulf War, which had started in January, 1991. His felt that if the war continued, there was a chance that they would have difficulty in getting food supplies from the USA, where basically all food supplies for the island came from.

Nixon voiced his concern to the other men on Staniel Cay and suggested that they put their money together and purchase some pigs to start a livestock farm to feed the people on the cay. Many of the men were not interested in pooling their resources. However, Don Rolle, who worked for the local telephone company decided it was a good idea. The men put up $250.00 each to purchase the first set of piglets from Wayde's father, King Nixon, in Nassau. The piglets were $100 each and this bought them five baby pigs (four females and one male). They built a pen to house the pigs and placed the pigs on Big Major Cay on the side that was closest to Staniel Cay. This was done so that they could easily bring leftovers from the yacht club to feed the pigs. As the pigs grew bigger, they broke out of the pen and wandered to the next side of the island on the beach.

Many boaters anchor in the little cove off Big Major Cay when cruising the Exumas. When unsuspecting visitors would stop to snorkel or swim at the cay, they were greeted by welcoming pigs. The boaters started feeding these harmless, sociable creatures, when they saw them on the island. It then became a habit for them to come out of the coppice, at the sound of a boat's motor, and venture into the water where they started swimming out to the boats with the anticipation of getting some food. This became an attraction and the rest is history. Nixon and Rolle decided to leave the pigs alone and would only feed them occasionally, during the soft months (September and October) when there were few visitors.

It may be impossible for pigs to fly, but in The Exumas, they can swim!

Accessibility Notes

The site is accessible by boat only and the journey might be uncomfortable for persons with mobility impairments and those in wheelchairs.

Best Months and Seasons for Viewing

Year Round

Best Time for Viewing

Sun Up to Sun Down