He may have been lost, lonely, or looking for love but it seems this little pig swam across the Waikato River from Rototuna to Pukete and couldn't find his way home again.

Now he's in the care of animal control who have named him Mr Wilbur and are searching for a forever home in the Waikato countryside where he won't become Christmas roast.

The Saddleback pig estimated to be about six months old was found in a Pukete horse paddock earlier this month. Hamilton City Council animal education and control manager Susan Stanford says they believe Mr Wilbur (named after the pig Wilbur in the movie classic Charlotte's Web) swam across the river from Rototuna.

"There were no reports of a pig crossing the nearby bridge, so we think it's pretty clear that he swam across the river," Ms Stanford says. "Pigs are actually naturally good swimmers so it is not as unbelievable as it sounds, but still it is an impressive feat."


Animal education and control public education officer Amanda Tucker said Mr Wilbur has grown in personality since being picked up.

"We found him making friends with the horses," Amanda says.

Mr Wilbur swam across the Waikato River from Rototuna to Pukete. Photo / Hamilton City Council
Mr Wilbur swam across the Waikato River from Rototuna to Pukete. Photo / Hamilton City Council

"He was very timid and traumatised at the time, and I guess when you have strangers come out of nowhere and put you in a truck it's not the best experience, but his personality has really developed since then."

While only 50kg right now, Mr Wilbur is expected to grow to roughly 300kg, and Ms Tucker said it important they find the right home.

Animal control first put out a social media post with no photos asking if there was anyone who may have lost a pig, but no one came forward.

"After that we created a new post with pictures of him added and it just took off, we've had plenty of applications come in for him and now it is just trying to find him the right home."

She said they were working through the applications to rehome Mr Wilbur, making sure he would live a long and happy life as a pet, and that he also had a place to swim.

"He really loves swimming so there needs to be some sort of swimming hole for him.


He's just incredibly friendly and loves being scratched and looked after so we want to find the right home for him."