10 Wildly Wrong Animal Stereotypes

Pigs Are Dirty
What's that expression: 'happy as a pig in mud'? Pigs have few sweat glands so the mud keeps them cool. They're clean animals otherwise. John Foxx/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

We're not likely to take it as a compliment if someone refers to our room as a pigsty, or -- even worse --calls us a pig. But once you get past the common misconceptions about these smart, social animals, you may just want to smile and say "thank you."

In fact, pigs are among the cleanest animals on the farm. They are incapable of sweating (another stereotype we can put to rest), and given the choice, they won't defecate anywhere near their sleeping or eating areas. Pigs are also smarter and more easily trained than dogs or cats [sources: The Humane Society, PBS Nature]. So why the bad rap?

Since pigs can't sweat, they often roll in mud to cool off. The mud also protects their fair pink skin from sunburn and bug bites. Their affinity for mud can give pigs an admittedly dusty and grimy appearance, but if they become truly smelly or covered in anything other than mud, chances are we have only ourselves to blame. On large factory farms, pigs are often overfed and confined to small, overcrowded spaces, preventing them from following their naturally clean instincts and contributing to the stereotype of pigs as dirty animals [sources: The Humane Society, PBS Nature].