Right now, my pigs are tucking in to a delicious ball of hay. But what is there to know about them? Where are they from? What do they look like? Are there different types? This article provides some interesting facts about guinea pigs for you to get to know your piggies better.
Say hello to my three piggies!
This is Dot; so named as she has a ginger dot on her head. She is the bravest of my guinea pigs. She will always be the first queueing up for food. Dot is also the noisiest of my three piggies.
This is Duke. He was already named when I got him as he was a rescue. He fitted in perfectly with the girls and is happy in his new home.
Update: I adopted 4 more pigs in August 2019. Introducing Delilah, Daisy, Diddy & Dusk!
Now it’s time for the facts about guinea pigs!
Guinea pig fact #1
The scientific name for guinea pigs is cavia porcellus.
This is where the name cavy (prounounced cave-y) comes from, which is another common name for guinea pigs.
Guinea pig fact #2
Guinea pigs are classed as rodents but do not have a tail like other rodents.
However, they do have many of the other qualities of rodents which you can see in the photo below.
Guinea pig fact #3
Guinea pigs arrived in the British Isles in the 16th century.
They are originally from South America and were brought to the British Isles and Europe by sailors. They quickly become popular as household pets here.
Guinea pig fact #4
There are many different breeds of piggy from short-haired to long-haired and lots in-between.
- Short haired breeds: Rex (Teddies), Satin, Standard
- Rough-coated breeds: Abyssinian
- Smooth coated breeds: Agouti, Crested, Dutch, Himalayan
- Long-haired breeds: Coronet, Peruvian, Sheltie
- Rare breeds: Alpaca, Argenti, Brindle, Dalmatian, Harlequin, Magpie, Roan, Texel, Tortoiseshell
Guinea pig fact #5
They live for around 5 to 7 years.
Adult boars (males) weigh between 900-1180g and adult sows (females) weigh between 860-900g. They breathe about 80 times a minute and their heart beats around 280 times a minute.
Guinea pig fact #6
Their teeth keep on growing their entire lives.
Their teeth don’t have roots like ours which mean they just keep growing. Therefore, it is very important that guinea pigs have lots of hay and other things to chew on to keep their teeth short.
Guinea pig fact #7
Guinea pigs are active for up to 20 hours a day.
Piggies sleep for short periods throughout the day. This means that guinea pigs need lots of room to exercise and should have access to a run or floor time each day to prevent boredom and weight gain.
Guinea pig fact #8
Cavies cannot make their own vitamin C but it is essential for their health.
As well as hay and guinea pig nuggets, they should be provided with a variety of vegetables and fruits each day. For example, kale, broccoli, or spinach, or small quantities of apple, strawberry or carrot.
Guinea pig fact #9
Guinea pigs are social animals and prefer living with other piggies.
In the wild, guinea pigs live in groups of 5 – 10 pigs. Therefore, when keeping guinea pigs as pets, you should always adopt more than one to fulfill their need for companionship.
Guinea pig fact #10
Cavies have lots of different ways of communicating with us and each other.
- Wheeking – usually when they hear a packet rustle and are begging for food.
- Squeaking when they are exploring – they’re talking to the other piggies about their exploration.
- Chirping – this is quite a round sound which isn’t really understood. It sounds like a bird singing.
- Rumbling – most often heard when a guinea pig is being dominant and claiming what they think is theirs.
- Teeth chattering – unhappy piggy.
- Squealing – they are either very afraid or hurt.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my piggies and reading these ten facts. Have you got any more interesting facts about guinea pigs? Why not leave them in the comments below for others to read?