10 Fun Facts About Guinea Pigs
When I was little my guinea pig Francis escaped indoors and chewed his way through my mumâs favourite brocade jacket overnight, eating the green bits and leaving the rest. Next doorâs guinea pig Charlie lived until aged eight, much longer than average. And these charming little animals make a tasty meal for people in the Andes, high up on the Peruvian Altiplano. They're only small but they're fascinating beasts. Here are some fun facts about one of Britainâs favourite pets.
1 - Built-in bubble bath
Guinea pigs have their own natural cleaning fluid. They secrete milky liquid from the corners of their eyes then use their front feet to spread it over their faces and heads when they bathe.
2 - Open rooted teeth
Guinea pigs have open rooted teeth, which grow all their lives because the pigs’ grassy diet constantly grinds them down
3 - Two poops
Guinea poop comes in two varieties, normal and cecotropes (AKA cecals). Like rabbits, guinea pigs eat their normal poop to get every last bit of goodness out of it. Then poop it out again as cecals
4 - Cool is best
Guinea pig body temperatures run hot at anywhere between 99 and 103 degrees, which means they don’t like hot weather much and direct sunlight isn’t good for them. Make sure yours has plenty of cool shade
5 - Grass roots
Guinea pigs adore hays and grasses and they need it for a healthy diet. Hay includes silicates that wear down the animals’ teeth and the fibres help their digestive system do its thing.
6 - Same sex living
Male guinea pigs usually live together happily but it can’t be guaranteed. Like humans, every animal has its own unique personality: some are sociable, others prefer to live alone.
7 - Rumblestrutting
When your male is strutting his stuff with his hair all puffed up, swaying from side to side and making a strange brrrrrrrr sound, he’s rumblestrutting, either showing his dominance over males or trying to chat up the girls.
8 - Clever babies
New born guinea pigs have all their hair and teeth and they're born with their eyes open. They're running around within hours, incredibly cute and bright.
9 - Teen pregnancies
A male guinea pig is sexually mature at 3-5 old, females as little as four weeks. Ask your vet to separate babies by sex asap so you don’t end up with a houseful.
10 - Pig pampering
Guinea pigs adore being brushed and groomed. Like most animals the more you handle them and interact with them, the friendlier and more fun they are. Invest in some small animal grooming equipment and create an even more beautiful relationship.