Blue pig shot at Morgan Hill ranch

Blue pig The Morgan Hill rancher who shot this pig was surprised to find the animal's interior fat was a bright blue color. Experts have seen similar cases, and say the discoloration is likely the result of a dye contained in a chemical the pig consumed.

Exactly what caused a wild pig harvested in Morgan Hill to turn bright blue on the inside remains a mystery, but two state experts have a consistent and convincing theory.

A reddit.com user by the name of “GlendilTEK” posted the discovery on the social media site Sept. 8, with a link to photos of the unusual pig. The user said his or her in-laws shot the wild pig on their ranch in Morgan Hill. The in-laws cut open the pig and found its fat was a fluorescent blue color throughout its body. The animal’s muscle and organs did not appear to be discolored, GlendilTEK noted.

The reddit user has been seeking input from the online community as to how the pig turned blue on the inside, and even sent a sample to University California, Davis for research.

A spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said experts have “occasionally” seen previous cases of wild pigs exhibiting a similar discoloration of their insides. In those cases, it was determined the affected animals had likely consumed chemicals that contained a blue dye.

“Pigs eat pesticides and rodenticides, and it stains the fat of the pig,” said Fish and Wildlife spokesman Andrew Hughan. “We recommend not eating the animal, and you should try to dispose of it so it doesn’t get back into the environment.”

Robert Poppenga, a veterinary toxicologist with the California Animal Health and Food Safety at UC Davis, agreed the pig might have been exposed to an “anticoagulant rodenticide.”

“These things have happened in the past,” Poppenga said.

He added that the dye itself is probably not harmful to surviving pigs. But he doesn’t recommend letting scavengers get into an affected pig’s carcass.

“I would probably dispose of the carcass if possible, where it’s not left out for other animals to feed on,” Poppenga said.

Neither Poppenga nor Hughan are familiar with the specific details of the case of Morgan Hill’s blue pig.

If the UC Davis lab receives a sample of the pig tissue from the Morgan Hill rancher, researchers could examine the item to determine a specific cause.

Hughan added that Fish and Wildlife would like to speak to the rancher who discovered the discolored pig in order to obtain a sample that department staff can test on their own.

This newspaper attempted to contact GlendilTEK for more information including the exact location of the blue pig, but has not heard back from the reddit user. 

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