Guinea pigs are a type of rodent that originate from South America. They have been domesticated by humans since the 16th century and make great pets for many people, especially those who live in cold climates because they can tolerate temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 fascinating facts about guinea pigs!
1. They are not from Guinea.
Guinea pigs are native to South America’s Andes region. Their name may be confusing since it contains the word “guinea.” One theory is that they were carried to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 1500s via Guinea in Africa, so people believed they came from there.
2. They are not descended from pigs in any way.
Male guinea pigs are called boars and females are called sows. They are a type of rodent. Their scientific name is cavia porcellus. The word “porcellus” is latin for “little pig.” We may have gotten this name from the noises they make, which sound like a pig’s squeaking noise.
3. They like to talk to each other.
Guinea pigs require the presence of others of their own kind in order to feel secure, and should always be kept in pairs or small groups. They communicate through a variety of noises, including the well-known “wheek-wheek” call – an indication of excitement or the desire to meet someone – as well as a low “purring” noise, which they make when they are calm and relaxed.
4. They mark their belongings
Guinea pigs mark their homes by rubbing their faces against objects. This helps make the home smell familiar and safe. Because of this, you should put some of the old bedding back in when you clean their cage. Guinea pigs also drag their bottoms across the ground to leave messages that only other Guinea Pigs can understand.
5. They do not get along with rabbits.
It is a popular myth that you can keep guinea pigs and rabbits together. That’s not true. Rabbits will likely bully the guinea pigs, and they also have different care and dietary needs. Rabbits can also carry a disease that is bad for guinea pigs.
6. They don’t sleep very much
Guinea pigs are awake for up to 20 hours each day, making them crepuscular creatures. They must have constant access to food, water, companion guinea pigs, secure hiding spaces, and toys to keep them occupied.
7. They can live a long time.
Snowball, the oldest known guinea pig ever documented, lived to the age of 14 years 10 months and secured a spot in the Guinness Book of Records!
Guinea pigs can generally live for up to seven years if fed with the correct food, appropriate housing, companionship, care, and kindness.
8. They have an uneven number of toes.
Guinea pigs have four toes on their front paws but only three on their back ones. While this may be beneficial for digging and tunneling, it limits their mobility and climbing abilities, making them poor climbers who can only scale low-pitched obstacles.
9. They learn quickly.
Baby guinea pigs, or pups, are born with fur and their eyes open and can run as soon as a few hours old, which is ideal for a prey species. At three weeks old, pups are weaned, and they attain complete maturity in three months; however, they will continue to grow in size until they are around a year old.
10. They eat a lot of hay.
Guinea pigs should get the majority of their food from high-quality hay. Not only does this assist their digestive system, but gnawing on hay keeps their constantly growing teeth at the correct length as mini grazers.