Let’s take a look at the taxonomy of Guinea pigs to learn some fundamental facts about them.
Guinea pigs are a small mammalian animal belonging to the Class Mammalian, the order Rodentia, and the family Caviidae. They are classified as such because they are classified as such because they are small. So, what exactly does that imply in its simplest form?
In layman’s terms, this means that Guinea pigs are small animals with fur on their bodies. They give birth to live young and care for them until they are able to care for themselves.
Aside from that, they have two sets of Incisor teeth, which continue to grow continuously throughout their lives. Which is similar to other cavies in that it has a small robust body with short limbs, a large head and eyes, and short ears, as well as a small robust body with short limbs.
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Where do Guinea pigs come from?
However, despite the fact that it is very basic information, I considered including it in my Guinea pigs information guidebook due to the fact that many people are still perplexed by their names. Although they are called “Guinea,” they are not from the African country of New Guinea.
Guinea pigs are believed to have originated in the Andes Mountains of South America, which are currently referred to as the southern parts of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia in the United States. It has also been suggested that they have been domesticated for thousands of years prior to that. What we see today is the result of thousands of years of evolution.
Why guinea pigs are called guinea pigs?
Have you ever wondered why Guinea pigs are referred to as such despite the fact that they do not resemble pigs in any respect?
You won’t have to wonder any longer because we’ve provided you with the answer in this basic Guinea pig information guidebook.
Despite the fact that their name is similar to that of the “Pigs,” they are not related to the Pig family in any way at all. In other words, where did the term “guinea pig” come from?
They are said to have gotten the “Pig” part of their name from the squeaking noise that they make, which is said to be similar to the sound of baby piglets.
When the sailors brought them from the Andes Mountains of South America and sold them to other parts of the world for a “Guinea,” which is also referred to as a term for old coins in America, the “Guinea” portion of their name is said to have entered the picture.
In the end, they were referred to as “guinea pigs” by everyone because of their combined efforts.
Despite the fact that there is no specific proof for the theory, many people believe in it and many others do not.
What is the scientific name for a Guinea pig?
The scientific name for these creatures comes from their taxonomy, and they were originally known as “Cavia porcellus,” but in some parts of the world, they were referred to as Cavies.
Guinea Pig History
I completely understand that history can be a bit tedious for some people, but there was a plethora of Guinea pig information and facts that I was completely unaware of, so I decided to share them with you as well as with my friends and family.
It is believed that the Guinea pig was domesticated and bred in captivity for the first time by the tribes of the South American region as a livestock, which they refer to as Cuy in their language.
It is also believed that they were used as an offering to their Gods, as a gift or exchange, and that some of them were used for medicinal purposes.
Later on, around 1200 AD, commercial breeding of this animal began, resulting in a wide variety of species that are still available today.. During this time period, they were also widely used in medical laboratories for the purpose of diagnosing and treating diseases such as diabetes, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. During that time period, many tribes in South America continued to consume them as part of their diet.
Their introduction to Europe occurred around the end of the 16th century during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and they soon became well-known as exotic pets among members of the upper classes and the Royal family.
Later on, it became a popular pet for people of all ages and backgrounds. Today, they are one of the most popular and well-loved pets in America, Australia, and other parts of the world, and they are also available for adoption.
Basic Guinea Pigs Information and Facts You Must Know About!
Assuming that you have read through and comprehended the history of Guinea pigs, we will proceed to some of the fundamental facts and assumptions that people have when they first learn about this animal. I could see a beginner looking for this information, so I gathered all of the basic Guinea Pig information available and wrote it down in the most straightforward manner I could think of for you.
Are guinea pigs rodents?
Despite the fact that they are commonly referred to as “guinea pigs,” they are not members of the pig family. Guinea pigs, also known as Cavies or cavy, are a type of rodent that is related to other rodents such as rats, squirrels, hamsters, and other rodents. They are members of the family Caviidae and are members of the genus Cavia. As a result, you can simply state that they are members of the rodent family, but that their characteristics are quite distinct from those of other rodents.
Does a guinea pig need a companion?
Guinea pigs can be kept as a pet on their own, however. However, because Guinea pigs are social animals, it is preferable to keep them in a group. In their natural habitat, they live in herds of up to 50 Guinea pigs, just as other social animals such as elephants and Budgies do.
If you intend to keep them as a pet, it is preferable if you can provide them with a companion. They require an adequate amount of social interaction and play time in order to live a happy life. To ensure that they receive adequate social interaction, try to group at least two pairs together whenever possible.
Occasionally, if a Guinea pig does not receive enough social interaction, he or she may succumb to loneliness. Guinea pigs are extremely adept at concealing their emotions and may succumb as a result of this. In addition, if a Guinea pig loses a companion with whom they have developed a strong attachment, they may become lonely and suffer as a result. As a result, it is best to keep them together in groups of at least four if at all possible.
Listed below is a fascinating fact that I believe would make a wonderful addition to my basic Guinea pig information guidebook:-
Did you know that in Switzerland, keeping a single Guinea pig is against the law? Because they are a social animal and are only meant to be kept in groups, the government has enacted a strict prohibition against keeping them individually. Furthermore, they grow best when kept in groups of at least two to three people.
Some people believe that keeping one and interacting with them on a regular basis will suffice in this situation. Despite the fact that it appears to be sufficient, it is still preferable to have a companion because they may enjoy playing with you, but there will be a communication gap that can only be filled by a companion.
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How long does a guinea pig live?
The average lifespan of a Guinea pig is between 5-8 years, with some individuals living for much longer periods of time.
Snowball, a Guinea Pig who holds the world record for the longest lifespan, lived for approximately 14 years and 11 months.
A few factors, such as genetics, the environment in which they live, and the diet they consume, have a significant impact on the life of a Guinea pig. A Guinea pig’s lifespan is also determined by the breed they are born into; Shelties or Peruvians can live up to 12 to 14 years, whereas the hairless breed can live only 4-5 years. Guinea pigs, once they reach a certain age of 3 to 4 years, also have a tendency to grow at a slower rate.
Learn everything you need to know about its lifespan: What is the average lifespan of a guinea pig?
How big does a Guinea pig get?
Guinea pigs are smaller in stature than their furry cousins, such as the mouse and the hamster, and therefore have a distinct appearance. A newborn Guinea pig can range in size from three to four inches in length. It is undeniably dependent on the breed and the number of babies born at a given time period.
They have a tendency to grow in size very quickly, and will almost certainly double in size to 6-8 inches in approximately 8 weeks. After this period of time, their growth begins to slacken slightly. They will continue to grow for the next eight weeks, reaching a height of 8 to 10 inches.
Once they have fully grown out, they can reach a length of up to 14 inches in length. It follows that if you intend to keep them as a pet, it is essential that you purchase the largest cage that you can afford.
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How much does a Guinea pig weigh?
Depending on the breed and the number of newborn Guinea pigs at a given time, a newly born Guinea pig can weigh anywhere from 60 to 100 grams. Typically, it grows at a rapid rate during the first 8 weeks of development. Guinea pigs typically grow at a rate of 30-50 grams per week, which is considered normal.
Growth will slow down after the first 8 weeks and reach its maximum weight of 900-1200 gram for males and 800-1000 gram for females by the time they reach maturity. Comparing the two, the female appears to be slightly lighter in weight than the male. Once again, this is dependent on the breed and diet of the animal in question.
It is extremely important to keep track of your Guinea pig’s weight from the time it is born because this allows us to learn a great deal about their health and well-being. If you notice that your Guinea pig is underweight or overweight at different stages of its life, you can treat them appropriately and ensure that they live a long and healthy life.
The weighing scale you use for your Guinea pig doesn’t have to be anything special; any ordinary kitchen weighing scale will suffice. You simply allow them to sit on top of it and wait until they are stable before recording the weight; it’s that simple! Remember to keep copies of your records for your own records.
Guinea pigs sleep pattern?
You may have heard that Guinea pigs are nocturnal animals. This is true. But are they really?
My Basic Guinea pig information guidebook is going to bust some myths about guinea pigs today, some of which I was completely unaware of when I first started my journey with the animals.
However, contrary to popular belief, guinea pigs are not strictly nocturnal and do not require much sleep at all. Guinea pigs are mammal creatures, just like humans, and they require sleep just like us.
Now, the amount of sleep required varies from person to person. While the average human requires 8 hours of sleep per night, some animals require even more time to sleep, such as the Guinea pig, which requires approximately 10 hours of sleep per night but is rarely seen sleeping.
This is due to the fact that they sleep on their laps. Unlike humans, who tend to sleep for long periods of time every day, this small creature sleeps for short periods of time every few hours. They usually sleep for 4-10 minutes in a lap before waking up and becoming active again, and then taking naps every now and then.
Guinea pigs can also be found sleeping with their eyes open, which is unusual. Rather than sleeping, they spend most of their time keeping an eye out for predators and potential danger. Despite the fact that they will occasionally hide in their burrows and take a comfortable nap once in a while, they are generally active throughout the day and night.
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In this article, you’ll learn more about how it sleeps: Do Guinea pigs have a good night’s sleep?
Guinea Pig Natural Habitat
Although the domesticated Guinea pigs, also known as cavies, are extinct in the wild, their close cousins or other regular color species can be found in the hills and grasslands of southern America’s grasslands and hills.
Where do wild Guinea pigs live?
In southern America, wild Guinea pigs are typically found in rocky areas, grasslands, and savannas, where they can be found in herds of ten to twenty adult individuals. They are most often seen living in burrows dug by other animals, but some of them have dug their own burrows to live in as well. The majority of Guinea pigs can be observed to be active at all hours of the day and night. They usually come out to forage for food or to groom themselves up before going back inside.
What do guinea pigs eat?
Guinea pigs are herbivorous animals that enjoy foraging for food. They have a short lifespan. A large majority of the time, they can be seen consuming anything that can be found on or near the ground.
Their usual diet consists of hay, which they consume on a regular basis. Hay not only provides them with the fiber and nutrients they require, but it also aids in the maintenance of their canine teeth, which are constantly growing throughout their lives.
They also indulge in occasional servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. Anything like carrots, cabbage, Zucchini, and Broccoli would be excellent choices to use. Just stay away from a few vegetables, such as the onion family, avocado, and potatoes.
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Guide to Common Guinea Pig Breeds available.
In this Basic Guinea pig Information guidebook, I would discuss in brief about some of the most common breeds of Guinea pigs available for keeping as pets. Although there are many more species of them available we will just touch some of them down in this article and discuss them in detail in the next article. So let’s get right into it:-
- The American/American crested Guinea pigs:
The prominent ears and round nose of these guinea pigs, which have mostly one color fur, distinguish them from the rest of the species. They can grow up to 9 inches in length and live for up to 7 years on average.
- Himalayan Guinea pigs:
These Guinea pigs are considered to be closely related to Siamese cats in the world of guinea pigs. Typically, they have all-white fur with a brown and black patch over the ears, feet, and nose to distinguish them.
- Ridgeback guinea pigs:
There is an unbroken ridge of hair running down the back of the Ridgeback Guinea pig from the neck to the rump, which makes it stand out from the crowd.
- Teddy guinea pigs:
Teddy Guinea Pig has a hair coat that is small and dense, similar to that of a rabbit. Their hair stands up all over their bodies, giving them a puffy appearance that is more reminiscent of a soft toy.
- Rex Guinea pigs:
The Rex guinea pig is a rough-coated breed with a small woolly texture coat and no guard hairs. It is one of the rough-coated breeds. Their coat is covered in extremely fine but dense hair, which makes them extremely soft to the touch when held in the hands.
- Abyssinian Guinea pigs:
The Abyssinians Guinea pigs are a popular choice among first-time guinea pig keepers. They are extremely easy to train and can even be used as lap pigs if desired. In order to form their coat, they typically have spiral hairs that grow up to 4-5cm in length.
- Silkie Guinea pigs:
It has a long, soft, and smooth coat of hair that covers its entire body, making it look like a silkie Guinea pig. Unlike other Guinea pigs, their hair is more straight, and it sweeps back to the top of their heads. Because of their hair, they require a great deal of maintenance and spend the majority of their time grooming.
- Texel guinea pigs:
Texel guinea pigs are distinguished by their soft, thick coats that are curly in appearance. Despite the fact that their hairs can be compared to Silkie’s, they have a round and curly shape instead. The lush and curly hairs require a great deal of upkeep and are not recommended for novice hairdressers.
- Cornet Guinea pigs:
Cornet guinea pigs are similar to Silkie guinea pigs in that they have long, smooth hair that runs down the back of their necks and shoulders. Silkie, on the other hand, does not have a cornet in the middle of its head, which is a distinctive whorl of fur that distinguishes it from other cats.
- Peruvian Guinea pigs:
One of the oldest breeds of Guinea pigs, with some close cousins still roaming the wild today, is the African Guinea pig. It is believed that the hairs on Peruvian guinea pigs grow much longer than those on any other breed of Guinea pig. Hairs must be trimmed on a regular basis, otherwise they will form a circle around their bodies.
- Skinny Guinea pig:
The tough hair on the feet, muzzle, and legs of the skinny Guinea pig protects them from predators. It does not have any hair on any other parts of their body except for their face. This species’ skin is extremely soft, and there is a slight wrinkling around the neck, which gives them a fantastic appearance. While this increases their resistance to wounds and infections, it also increases their vulnerability to them.
- Baldwin Guinea pigs:
Baldwin Guinea pigs are completely bald, and their skin has a rubbery texture to it, similar to that of mice. When they are born, they have a thick coat of hair, but as time goes on, their hair begins to fall out and eventually they become completely bald.
I hope that all of the basic guinea pig information provided in this small guidebook has assisted you in better understanding these fascinating creatures. The topic of Guinea pigs has been thoroughly discussed; in subsequent articles, we will go into greater depth on the subject.
Here’s another resource that might be of use to you: Britannica provides information on guinea pigs. Guinea pig information by Britannica.