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Zach at the Zoo: Meet Johnny and June

Posted at 7:09 AM, Apr 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-18 08:09:34-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In this week's edition of Zach at the Zoo, we are better introduced to the zoo's two domestic pigs – who are very intelligent and break several stereotypes.

  • The five-year-old siblings have called the zoo home since 2022.
  • Johnny and June are very intelligent and will participate in shows at the zoo for the second consecutive year.
  • VIDEO: June paints Zach a picture using her strong nose muscles.


Meet Johnny and June.

“Johnny is a very social pig. He likes to be around us and the keepers, and just likes to hangout,” Keeper Mariah Myers said. “He also has the two big tusks. If you get really close, you can see his two different colored eyes as well.”

“And June is very smart and very food driven. So, she’s very easy and fun to train because she’s very motivated to work.”

The five-year-old siblings have called Omaha’s Doorly Zoo & Aquarium home since 2022.

“They are the color of Julienna pigs, but they are a little too big for them, but too small to be pot bellies,” Myers said. “We think they’re a mix of a couple things so they’re just domestic pigs to us.”

I asked, “When we think of the term ‘pig out’, really chow down, does that fit with these ones?”

“Oh, 100 percent. They want food and once they have it, nothing else matters,” she answered. “And once they’re done, they have to triple check to make sure it’s all gone.”

Myers says while that holds up, there are several misconceptions about these 90-pound pigs.

One – she says they are clean and tidy animals.

“They are very friendly, too. They definitely understand human connection and want to have a relationship with us.”

Quite bright, too.

“Pigs are very smart animals. They catch on to things very quickly,” Myers said. “So it’s really fun to come up with new ideas.”

Most of the training ideas are created to match their behaviors – like rooting or digging with their noses.

“They have lots of muscles in their nose, so she will use those to push those balls around and move the paint brushes. Hopefully we can get a good painting for you guys today.”

We put June’s painting skills to the test, and she delivered.

“That’s today’s masterpiece!” Myers said.

I responded, “Beautiful. How much do you think that will sell for?”

“Big bucks,” Myers laughed. “Big bucks.”

It was a piece of cake for June – the two are used to the spotlight. They made their debut in the barn yard show last year.

“I was very excited for them to be a part of the shows last year so we’re trying to come up with bigger and better things this year.”

You can see them during one of those shows at the meadowlark theater starting Memorial Day, or in exhibit near the goats at the Bay Family Children’s Adventure Trails