When Joanne Lefson of Cape Town, South Africa, rescued a little piglet from an industrial hog farm, she didn’t expect swine with a flair for the artistic.

At her new home at Farm Sanctuary SA, the female pig began showing interest in the paintbrushes lying around her pen. They “were the only thing she didn’t eat,” Lefson quips.

So the rescuer decided to train the pig—named Pigcasso—to paint using a positive-reinforcement technique in which animals receive food rewards. (See swimming pigs and other water-loving animals.)

From big cats to sting rays to elephants, many captive animals learn to paint. It made us wonder, can animals be creative?


Saying animals can produce art is tricky, says Allison Kaufman, a research scientist at the University of Connecticut who studies innovation and creativity in animals. Read more