What Is Unique About The Bahamas's Big Major Cay?

Wild pigs swimming in Big Major Cay.
Wild pigs swimming in Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay is a famous small island in Exuma, Bahamas. It is an uninhabited islet which gets its local name (pig beach) from the presence of a group of untamed pigs in the island.

What is Unique About the Island?

Although uninhabited, the islet hosts over twenty pigs and piglets which can swim on the beach. These swimming pigs have increased the popularity of the island and made it into a tourist attraction. Many people visit the Cay daily, and as soon as the pigs hear a boat coming, they will rush into the water and swim towards the yacht knowing that you have some food for them. Locals visit the cay every day and feed the pigs. Big Major Cay has natural water springs, and the neighboring islets shelter it from strong waves created by the tropical storm thus creating a peaceful environment for the pigs.

Where Did the Pigs Come From?

Like many of the world's most unique attractions, the origin of the swimming pigs is surrounded by numerous local legends. One local legend has it it that they were left on the cay by sailors who wanted to create more space in their ship and they had planned to sail back and slaughter them for food. They never went back for them and therefore the pigs survived and lived on the foodstuff dumped by passing yachts and multiplied. The pigs had to adapt and learn how to swim for their survival and feed on the food discarded by the passing yachts.

Another legend claims that they escaped from a neighboring island and moved into the Pig beach where they live to date. Others believe that during the summer of 1992, Wayde Nixon, a local tour operator was concerned that the Gulf Ear would affect the supply of food to the island (which came from the United States). He voiced his concern and managed to raise about $250 which he used to buy the pigs. He placed the pigs in a pen on the island on the side closest to Staniel Island. After they grew, they broke out of the pen and moved to the other side of the beach. Other people suggest that the pigs are part of a business plot to attract visitors to the island.


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