Guinea Pig

Guinea Pig Amazing Facts

35 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Guinea Pig | Amazing Facts 4U 

  1. The guinea pig was domesticated as early as 5000 B.C. in South America as a source of food. They were also used in religious ceremonies and in traditional medicine. They have been kept in households as companion animals since being introduced by European traders in the 16th century.
  2. The scientific name of the guinea pig is Cavia porcellus, which means “little pig.”  They belong to the family Caviidae, which is a family of South American rodents. They are also not from Guinea; they originated in the Andes.
  3. Guinea pigs may have been called pigs for several reasons. For example, they have a similar squeal to a pig’s. They are also somewhat built like a small pig, with a large head, stout neck, and no real tail.
  4. While guinea pigs are not from Guinea, it is possible “guinea” was included in their name because they may have been sold for a guinea (English coin). Another theory is that Europeans may have believed guinea pigs came from the African country Guinea since ships carrying the furry mammals from South America often stopped there before going on to Europe.
  5. Male guinea pigs are called boars, females are referred to as sows, and young ones are called pups.
  6. If a female guinea pig is uninterested in a male during courtship, she will sometimes squirt a jet of urine at the persistent male.
  7. The gestation period of guinea pig is about 70 days. A female guinea pig (called a sow) is able to produce a litter of up to 4 young guinea pig pups.
  8. Amazing fact is that if a female guinea pig does not give birth before she is 6 months old, her pubic bones will fuse. If she tries to give birth later ,the fused bones will prevent her from giving birth resulting in the death of the mother and the unborn pups.
  9. Guinea pigs have a high maternal mortality rate of about 20%.
  10. Baby guinea pigs are born with their eyes open and are covered in fur. Baby pups are able to drink from a water bottle and can eat hay within hours of being born. They can run only 3 hours after being born.
  11. Guinea pigs in fact have 3 toes on their forefeet and 4 toes on their hind feet.
  12. Guinea pigs have a long and detailed history of being used in medical research from the 17th century. While rats and mice have become more popular test animals in the modern era, guinea pigs are still used as subjects for juvenile diabetes, tuberculosis, scurvy, and pregnancy complications.
  13. There are two general categories of guinea pigs: long haired and short haired. Short-haired guinea pigs are typically easier to care for than long-haired ones.
  14. Guinea pigs typically live about 4 or 5 years, though they may live up to 8. The longest-living guinea pig on record was Snowball from Nottingshire, England. She died at the age of nearly 15 years in February 1979.
  15. Guinea pigs don’t have to sleep for long periods. They prefer to take short naps throughout the day and night.
  16. Guinea pig ears are very sensitive to noise and they do not like any loud bangs.
  17. Guinea pigs can hear sounds of up to 40,000 to 50,000 Hz, and some guinea pig vocalizations are ultrasonic at above 20,000 Hz.
  18. Guinea pigs are particularly vocal. They have a range of vocalizations to communicate with each other, including ‘purring’ when content and ‘chirping’ when stressed.
  19. Guinea pigs can’t sweat like humans can and so can get heat stroke if they are left out in the sun or become too hot. They have to find shade whenever possible.
  20. Guinea pigs have what is known as “open rooted” teeth like rats which constantly grow requiring them to constantly grind down their teeth while eating food keeping them property aligned.
  21. Guinea pigs will eat all day and night.
  22. They do not bite in self-defense and will only bite because they think your hand is food.
  23. Guinea pigs have a very good field of vision and are able to see around them so as to detect predators. Amazing fact is that they can’t see anything straight in front of their noses which means they don’t see what they eat.
  24. The American guinea pig is one of the oldest breeds of guinea pigs and is considered the “classic guinea pig.” One of the most commonly found, it is an ideal pet for children because of their short, smooth fur.
  25. Guinea pigs typically run a higher temperature than humans, at about 101° F. Their high temperature places them at increased risk on hot days or when they’re exposed to direct sunlight.
  26. After about 4 years old, guinea pigs are usually considered senior citizens, and genetic health issues usually appear at this time.
  27. Guinea pigs are very social and are truly happy only when they are together with other guinea pigs. Even the most loving human cannot take the place of other guinea pigs.
  28. Because guinea pigs are so social, it is illegal to own just one in Switzerland.
  29. When you are holding a guinea pig, the way to settle it down if its wriggling too much is to bring your hand under its back-side and amazingly it will stop wriggling.
  30. A recent study found that children ages 5 to 12 on the autism spectrum showed a marked decrease in stress while interacting with guinea pigs. The pet could act as a “social buffer” for students with autism who may have difficulty making friends.
  31. Guinea pigs are fragile creatures and so need to be treated with gentle hands. If you are rough, you could break its bones. In fact, they have a total of 258 bones in the body.
  32. Amazingly guinea pigs always march in single file, with the largest guinea pig at the front and the young protected in the middle.
  33. Guinea pigs have been found to be allergic to penicillin.
  34. Guinea Pigs have excellent spatial orientation and are able to learn complex maze tasks using symbols as sign posts.
  35. Like humans, guinea pigs are unable to make vitamin C and need to acquire it through food sources. Failing to do so can lead to scurvy and eventually death.

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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