A Pig Who Ate a Pedometer It’s Poo Ended up Setting 75 Acres Ablaze

Doug Williams
North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service

These days, it’s important to get a break from “all-virus-all-the-time” news and social media posts by enjoying a lighthearted moment when the opportunity arises.

A pig — several of them, actually — at a farm near Leeds in the U.K. provided just such an opportunity in early March, when firefighters revealed they had put out a blaze that covered about 75 square metres of land and four pigpens.

Fire is never funny, of course. But in this instance, the accidental arsonist was a four-legged hoofer, a porker that’s part of a population of pigs at a free range farm near Leeds.

North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service

The pig in question inadvertently ingested a pedometer meant to track the herd’s movements across the land, and thereby prove that the porkers are, in fact, free range.

However, one of the pigs seemingly mistook the pedometer his “buddy” was wearing for a mid-day snack, and scuffed it down. When the pig pooped out the pedometer, the copper insides sparked a flame, which soon became a blaze across a wider area. But the local fire service saved the day, and not a single pig came to harm during the incident, according to the BBC.

The firefighters, from the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, tweeted out the news. “The cause of the fire,” said the tweet, “was attributed to a battery-powered pedometer carried by one of the pigs, which was eaten by the other pigs.

After nature had taken its course (the pig pooped, in other words,) it’s believed that the copper from the batteries reacted with the pigpen’s contents and in conjunction with dry bedding, ignited…”

Firefighters used a water hose and soon extinguished the flames. Enjoying the moment of levity in addition to saving the day, firefighters added at the end of the tweet that they had “saved the bacon.”

A bad pun on an old expression, perhaps, but nonetheless a brief break from the U.K.’s constant stream of bad, pandemic-related news that has inundated people for well over two months now.

One subject that is no laughing matter, however, is the ease with which batteries for all kinds of devices can cause fire.

Reports in the news about cell phone batteries and vape pens burning users are ever present.

According to Live Science, a fact-based, online news website that tracks these issues, these lithium batteries are capable of “spontaneously combusting,” as it phrased it recently, and hurt users or start fires when no one is nearby to put them out.

In 2016, Samsung halted production of one style of its cell phones, because there were so many reports of the batteries suddenly exploding and causing fires.


The piece of athletic technology at the centre of the U.K. pig poop blaze, however, isn’t something that has been associated with problems like these.

This incident was a fluke, likely caused by something in the poor pig’s digestive track or excrement that made the batteries spark and cause the fire.

Because all the pigs are safe and firefighters managed to extinguish the fire promptly, this case wasn’t one that authorities became overly concerned about.

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It does beg the question, however: what on earth was that little piggy thinking when it chowed down on a chunk of technology? Was it simple curiosity, or was it hunger for a new kind of nibble? Guess we’ll never know for sure, because obviously, the hog isn’t talking.


fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival