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Do you know these 10 fun guinea pig facts?

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 fun guinea pig facts for you to get to know your piggies better.

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.

a guinea pig with arrows showing body parts

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 male guinea pigs are called boars and adult female guinea pigs are called sows. They weigh around 800 – 1200 g. They breathe about 80 times a minute and their heart beats around 250 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, bell peppers, 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 ā€“ 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 rare 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 these ten guinea pig facts. Have you got any more interesting facts about guinea pigs? Why not leave them in the comments below for others to read?

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