There are many interesting facts about guinea pigs that you may not know. Here are our top ten facts about guinea pigs:
The oldest guinea pig that we know of was a boy named Snowball and he lived for an amazing 14 years and 10 months! He died in February 1979. Guinea pigs sadly don’t have a very long life span. They usually live for between 4-8 years.
Guinea pigs don’t originate from Guinea but from the Andes Mountains in South America. They are also not members of the pig family but are rodents.
Unlike humans, a guinea pig’s teeth keep growing. This is because in the wild they eat a lot of fibrous grasses and herbs. If the teeth didn’t keep growing then they would wear down in no time.
With a pet guinea pig, you need to make sure they have a constant supply of hay to eat to prevent the teeth overgrowing. Overgrown teeth are a really serious health issue for guinea pigs and can result in long-term veterinary care if not treated early enough.
Male guinea pigs are called boars, female guinea pigs are sows but baby guinea pigs are not called piglets, they are called pups!
Guinea pigs excrete 2 kinds of poops – soft poops and hard poops. They eat the soft poops straight from their bottoms as these have essential nutrients which keep them healthy.
Male and female guinea pigs do what is called “rumblestrutting”. This is quite comical to watch and the guinea pig will sway their hips from side to side while making a loud purring type of noise. They do this to establish dominance or to court other guinea pigs.
You can train guinea pigs to know when to expect food. They will get used to the rustling of the lettuce packaging or the chopping of vegetables and will often react to this. If you whistle each time you bring them food, they will squeak excitedly each time they hear whistling!
Unlike other rodents, baby guinea pigs are born fully formed, with teeth, a full coat of hair and their eyes open. These newborn guinea pigs will even be able to run around within hours.
Male guinea pigs will spray to mark their territory. But if a female guinea pig gets annoyed with another guinea pig, they may spray them with urine!
Guinea pigs have 14 toes in total – 3 toes on each of the back feet and 4 on the front feet. Their nails are like ours in that they constantly grow. In the wild they wear down naturally from running around but pet guinea pigs need their nails clipped regularly as they don’t wear down in the same way when kept in captivity.