Pig Kills Man and Attacks Toddler After They Entered Sty to See Piglets

A 50-year-old man was killed in an attack by a female pig in Italy last weekend that also left a 2-year-old hospitalized.

The tragic incident occurred around 4:30 p.m. local time Sunday on a farm in Corcolle, a province on the outskirts of Rome. When the pair entered the animal's enclosure to look at newborn piglets, it responded by knocking the man to the ground and fatally biting him, La Repubblica reported.

The man, whose identity has not been released, died at the scene.

The pig also attacked the toddler, but relatives intervened after hearing the child in distress. The young victim was rushed to a hospital in Tivoli in serious condition before being transferred to the Bambino Gesù Hospital by ambulance.

The child was "breathing with a ventilator, sedated and in critical condition," a spokesperson for the hospital told the ANSA newswire.

The hospital told La Repubblica the toddler had surgery after suffering "multiple traumatic lesions, particularly in the face and neck."

An autopsy was ordered for the 50-year-old man. Until the findings are released, the exact cause of death remains undetermined.

According to an article published in the wake of the incident by the Italian edition of National Geographic, pigs become "particularly unpredictable in behavior" around mating seasons.

Irene Camerlink, a researcher at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna who studies the social quirks of pigs, wrote in an article last year that "disastrous situations can occur when the aggression is directed towards humans."

Sows not confined to farrowing crates can "more easily attack to defend their piglets," and some will attempt to bite through bars or jump out of their pens if they face stress. It remains unclear what type of conditions the pigs in Corcolle were living in.

Earlier this year, a 56-year-old woman in Russia reportedly died after collapsing while feeding her pigs. The animals started to take bites out of her body while she was still alive.

The incident took place on a farm in Udmurtia, a region of the Volga Federal District. The victim's remains were reportedly discovered by her husband in February, a day after her death. An investigation was then launched by local law enforcement.

And back in 2012, the Associated Press reported authorities in Oregon were probing the death of a 69-year-old farmer who was believed to have been eaten by his own pigs.

The cause of death was unclear, but a relative said pieces of the man's body were found in the enclosure. "For all we know, it was a horrific accident, but it's so doggone weird that we have to look at all possibilities," Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier said at the time.

Adult pig
A big adult pig is photographed at farm show. A 50-year-old man was killed after being attacked by a female pig at a farm last weekend in Corcolle, Italy. iStock