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Milwaukee County Zoo Welcomes American Guinea Hog Penelope

Guinea Hog Penelope
Penelope resides in the Pig habitat in the Northwestern Mutual Family Farm and can be seen by the public daily.

Posted August 2021

The Milwaukee County Zoo is thrilled to welcome Penelope, a female American Guinea hog, to the Northwestern Mutual Family Farm.  Penelope was born March 24 on a farm in Woodstock, IL and arrived at the Zoo on June 30. You’ll find her in the habitat in the Farm next to the Scottish Highland and belted Galloway cows, across from the Goat Yard.

Penelope shares her habitat with Peabody and Percy, two Kunekune pigs who are also recent arrivals to the Farm.  She spent the first week of her time in the Farm rotating into the habitat with the other two pigs while they all acclimated to each other.  All three have been living together full-time since mid-July and can be seen by the public daily.

Penelope was very shy when she arrived and wouldn’t let her zookeepers get close to her at first.  She quickly learned that there was no reason to be nervous, especially once her zookeepers began giving her food!  Now she runs across her yard to greet them when they arrive at the Pig habitat.  She likes to be scratched and will often lay down for belly rubs.

Penelope Sitting
Penelope was shy when she arrived, but now she runs across the yard to greet her zookeepers when they reach the Pig habitat.

Penelope’s diet consists of pellets, chopped hay, and produce like green beans, carrots,tomatoes, pears, apples and romaine lettuce.  She also gets grapes as a treat when her zookeepers weigh her.  She currently weighs 47 pounds and is growing quickly.  Penelope receives boxes and plastic toys for enrichment.  Pigs are curious and intelligent animals, so these items give her something to explore and interact with in her habitat.  Sometimes zookeepers will put food in the boxes so Penelope has to forage for it like she would in the wild.

American Guinea hogs are native to the United States.  After seeing their population decline throughout the early part of the twentieth century, American Guinea hog populations have increased in recent decades, as many new herds have been established throughout small farms.