Fun Facts About Guinea Pigs
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- A Guinea Pig is also known as a 'Cavy'.
- A male Guinea Pig is called as a boar, a female is known as a sow, and a baby Guinea Pig is called a pup.
- The coat of all Guinea Pigs is made up of five different types of fur.
- There are about nine different breeds of Guinea Pigs, although new ones are beginning to emerge as well. Among the most popular are the Short-Haired (also known as the American or English Guinea Pig), Abyssinian, Peruvian, and the Silkie (also known as the Sheltie).
- Despite their name, Guinea Pigs are not from Guinea (They actually originated from the Andes) nor are they related to pigs. Some speculate that the 'Guinea' part of the name was first dubbed when the rodents were brought to Europe by way of Guinea, which may have led people to believe that they originated from there. The second part of the name, 'pig' may have resulted from the squeals that Guinea Pigs can emit, which sound very similar to the noises made by pigs.
- Guinea Pigs are related to Chinchillas, Porcupines, Agoutis, Maras, and Capybaras (the largest rodent in the world).
- Unlike most rodents, Guinea Pigs are diurnal (though they do take short naps throughout the day).
- The Guinea Pig's incisor teeth constantly grow, so they need to have something hard to gnaw on (such as a chewing block) to trim them down.
- Guinea Pigs make a variety of noises that express how they are feeling. Wheeking, which sounds like a long and loud squeal or whistle, often indicates excitement (Guinea Pigs most commonly make this noise when they know they are about to be fed). Content Guinea Pigs may purr. Teeth chattering and hissing noises indicates agitation or anger, while a shrieking sound can mean that the animal is fearful or in pain.
- Unlike most rodents, Guinea Pigs are born with a full coat of fur and with their eyes open. They are even able to run when they are only three hours old!
- Guinea Pigs are unable to produce their own Vitamin C, so they need food that is enriched with the vitamin or supplements.
- While Guinea Pigs usually live five to seven years, the oldest one to ever live reached the ripe old age of fifteen.
- Guinea Pigs are able to learn complex paths to food and are able to memorize them for months.
- While Guinea Pigs do not have tails, they have tail vertebrae.
- Guinea Pigs do eat their own poop, but not the same feces that you see in their cage. The ones that they eat are known as ceacotrophs, which are smaller and softer (and often smellier) than normal poop and are packed with vitamins and protein. Guinea Pigs need to eat them, as their digestive systems are not able to extract all of the nutrients from their food the first time that they ingest it.
- Some South American cultures use Guinea Pigs as evil spirit collectors for healing rituals.
- Happy Guinea Pigs will 'popcorn', or rapidly run around in circles inside their cages and jump a few inches in the air over and over again.
- The largest litter that a Guinea Pig ever gave birth to was seventeen pups!
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