Guinea Pig Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a Guinea Pig?
Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) are small tailless rodents with small compact and cylindrically shaped bodies.
What class of animal does a Guinea Pig belong to?
Guinea pig belongs mammal class of animals. Mammals are vertebrate animals that give birth to live babies, with the presence of milk-producing mammary glands to feed their young ones, three middle ear bones, fur or hair, and a neocortex (region of the brain) defining the mammal class best.
How many Guinea Pigs are there in the world?
These small animals do not exist in the wild anymore due to constant habitat loss and hunting by humans. But since they have turned out to be out one of the best pets around the world, their number increases every day as they are breeders supply more and more of these adorable little animals to pet stores around the world to keep with demand.
If their population was to be put in an exact number, there would be around five million guinea pigs in the world right now.
Where does a Guinea Pig live?
In their native South America, Guinea pigs are often found in treeless grasslands. With a massive boom in the domestication of Guinea pigs, there are hardly any guinea pigs left in the wild! They are now mostly found in households all across the globe as pets.
What is a Guinea Pig's habitat?
Guinea pig's natural habitat is in the South American mountain ranges, with tough climates, making them highly adaptable with the thick coat. In the wild, they spend most of their time scavenging for food, covering great distances making sure they follow the same path. They avoid open areas without shade or shelter as they are defenseless animals and can fall prey to predators.
Since they are a highly adaptive rodent species, they can live anywhere in the world, as proved by their ability to survive as pets.
Who do Guinea Pigs live with?
The Guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) is a socially adept animal and loves companionship and thrives on interaction with other guinea pigs.
If you happen to adopt or purchase guinea pigs as a pet, make sure you keep them in at least groups of two, as their mental and physical well-being depends on companions.
They are much more active and way more playful in the presence of other guinea pigs and should never be kept alone, so it is better to have more than one of them to lead a good life in captivity.
How long does a Guinea Pig live?
The Guinea pig's lifespan in the wild has been known to be around five years. The domestic guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) has a lifespan of five to six years. The lifespan of guinea pigs can be extended to a maximum of eight to 10 years if they are cared for properly and provided with a good diet. The oldest guinea pig recorded officially lived to be 14 years and ten months old!
How do they reproduce?
In the wild, guinea pigs don't have a distinct mating season and can mate all year round; domesticated guinea pigs do not follow the same mating pattern as their breeding is in the hands of breeders.
Male Guinea pigs reach sexual maturity at 56-70 days, and female guinea pigs at about 67 days. After conception, the female gives birth to babies after a gestation period of 58-72 days. Female guinea pigs can give birth to 13 babies, but the average litter size is two to four.
What is their conservation status?
As of today, four out of the five species of guinea pigs found throughout the wilderness of South America are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. The only exception being the Guinea pigs of Santa Catarina, Brazil, where there are only 42 individuals left, and they have been listed on the IUCN Red List as critically endangered.
As part of the domestic habitat, their numbers grow with each passing day as they are bred as pets due to their huge demand for being cute pets!
So they are, for now, safe from extinction, and their preservation is of least concern to the world.
Guinea Pig Fun Facts
What do Guinea Pigs look like?
Guinea pigs have small, stout bodies with no tail and have a distinctive large head with alert eyes. Their front feet have four toes, and back feet have three toes, and their sharp claws help them burrowing.
Guineas have an exceptional sense of hearing and smell, with their long whiskers adding to their heightened awareness of their surrounding. They have long, coarse fur that can be found in a variety of colors, ranging from brown, black to completely white.
They have small ears in the shape of petals that are present at the apex of the head. A guinea pig's eyes are positioned mid-way down the snout, between the ears and the nose. They have a small mouth shaped like a triangle, and like many other rodents, their teeth grow continuously.
How do they communicate?
Guinea pigs are chatty and like to communicate with each other a lot. Their method of communication includes squeaks, whistles, purrs, and chirps.
Squeaks and squeals are used to alert others of danger or injury. Whistles and chirps are used as long-distance communication to indicate the presence of food.
How big is a Guinea Pig?
Adult guinea pigs grow from about 20-40 cm in length. They need to be provided with a proper diet and care to grow up without health issues.
How fast can a Guinea Pig run?
Guinea pigs can run at maximum speeds of up to 6 mph (9.64 kph). The record for the fastest guinea pig belongs to Flash, from the United Kingdom, who took 8.81 seconds to run 10 meters in 2009. His record is yet to be broken!
How much does a Guinea Pig weigh?
Guinea pigs weigh differently depending on their gender, as these animals are dimorphic in nature (a condition where males of a species are bigger than females). Females guinea pigs weigh 24.69 oz - 31.74 (700 gm - 900 gm) and males weigh from 31.74 oz - 38.80 oz (900 gm - 1100 gm).
The weight of guinea pigs might differ on the diet they eat, which is provided to them, and on their feeding habits.
What are their male and female names of the species?
Following the pig nomenclature yet again, males are called boars, and females are called sows.
What would you call a baby Guinea Pig?
Baby guinea pigs are called pups. Pups are born well-developed with fully formed teeth, open eyes, fur and are able to run around are after a few hours of birth!
What do they eat?
Guinea pigs can be given hay, fruits and vegetables. Green leafy vegetables like parsley, cilantro, and lettuce should be the major part of a guinea pig's diet and should be fed to them once a day.
Feeding them treats now and then is also a great way to reward them for doing tricks or responding to their names.
Are they dangerous?
No. While they might act nervous or shaky, with consistent gentle care, this little animal can become a great companion!
Would they make a good pet?
Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) are friendly and easy to tame and need great care and attention. They are playful, chatty, and intelligent. They are also child-friendly and are often seen as the perfect first pet for children.
Did you know...
The most common breed of guinea pigs found as pets in households across the globe is the American Guinea pig, the hairless Guinea pig, the Peruvian Guinea pig, and the Abyssinian Guinea pig.
They might be known as Guinea 'pigs', but they are not related to pigs at all! They belong to the rodent genus and are burrowing animals.
They have four large incisors at the front of their mouth, and these teeth grow continuously.
Much like humans, Guinea pigs require their quota of Vitamin C, which can be provided with a proper diet and good pet food.
As nasty as it may sound, Guinea pigs eat their poops! Their poop usually consists of undigested proteins and nutrients that they can save for a snack.
Guinea pigs need a lot of floor space as they love to run around and need proper exercise to function properly on a day to day life.
Do guinea pigs like to be held?
Most Guinea pig breeds are often shy and reserved and don't open up to humans unless a great amount of time is spent with them, trying to make them comfortable and less nervous around humans. Once they get comfortable and open up to humans, they are laid back as pets and will let humans touch and play with them! They love to cuddle too!
How to take care of a guinea pig?
The proper way to take care of Guinea pigs is by keeping them clean and bathing them using proper pet care products and slowly dunking them in the tub, and drying them off properly after the cleaning.
Keeping their cage clean is also of utmost importance as unclean cages might make your guinea pig sick.
Good bedding should be provided, they can live in paper bedding, but wood shavings are more favorable.
They should always be kept indoors as they are small and might fall prey to feral creatures like dogs and foxes if left unattended.
We should always adopt two or more guinea pigs as they tend to get lonely while kept alone.
Guinea pigs need a good amount of nutrition, so it is important to feed your guinea pig fresh vegetables daily.
Provide your guinea pig with plenty of chew toys and cage accessories; it will help them exercise.
Trim the nails of your guinea pigs every few weeks.
How to draw a Guinea Pig?
First, draw a circle. Then make a long curved line and enclose it with a circle. Use two curved lines to indicate the shoulder and upper legs. Use overlapping curved lines to craft the forelegs. After the body shape is done, detail the face with large, watery eyes. Oval and tiny circles can be used to detail the face more. Draw curved lines to enclose the ears, and then add another rounded shape on the snout to form the nose.
What do Guinea Pig noises mean?
Guinea Pigs make a peculiar wheeking noise in anticipation of getting their favorite treat or when they need some attention. An annoyed guinea pig will make a high-pitched wheeking noise, whereas to indicate fear, they vibrate a bit along with the wheeking noise.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including field voles and the pygmy slow loris.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Guinea pig coloring pages.