While in Big Major Cay over the Christmas holiday, Capt. Michael Crosby took two teenage guests to shore to feed the pigs, as he has done many times before.
“We are all well versed in proper behavior when dealing with the pigs,” he said.
They know to toss the food and not let the animals eat from their hands. They keep their distance and don’t engage the animals.
On this day, they chose an area where just a few pigs were, far from where the majority of the pigs and their babies were, he said.
Two of the oldest and largest pigs came toward them, acting aggressively, Capt. Crosby said. He took the bag of food from the guests and walked slowly backward toward the tender in about knee-deep water.
Suddenly, one of the pigs nudged him in the belly, then lunged at him and bit him.
“This was the first time in all my years going there that I have ever experienced or heard of any such incident (unless, of course, it was deserved by bad behavior on the part of the person being bitten),” Capt. Crosby said. “Thankfully, I was the one bitten and not one of the kids.”
One of the guests tossed food away from the tender and the pigs chased that, giving Capt. Crosby a chance to regroup. He figures the pig weighed 400-500 pounds.
“There’s nothing that we were doing that was aggressive,” he said. “I know of a guy who got bit on the leg but that’s because he tried to get on the pig and ride it. He deserved it. But we were not teasing them. This was not the fault of the bitee; it was the biter.”
Back onboard, he cleaned the wound – two gashes that match the pig’s front teeth – and began a round of antibiotics. A few weeks later, he was still red and sore, but not infected.
“I was just thankful it was me and not one of the [guests]. If that was her who got bit or, God forbid, a little kid with food in his hand, that pig could have taken the hand. … I just want people to know this can happen. They will bite.”
Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of The Triton. Comments welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.