10 Awesome Guinea Pig Facts You Probably Didn’t Know!
1. Guinea pigs are not from Guinea, nor are they pigs!
We all love the cute name ‘Guinea Pig’, but the name is very misleading as to what they actually are. In fact, no one is absolutely sure where that name for the Cavia Porcellus rodent species came from originally. Some believe it’s due to the sounds they make, other believe it was down to 16th Century England where they apparently cost 1 Guinea to buy. It also doesn’t help that in Latin – C. Porcellus means ‘little pig’!
2. Runaway Teeth!
Another interesting fact with Guinea pigs, is that unlike in mammals – their teeth are constantly growing. All 20 of their little teeth continually grow throughout the year. How do they stop them growing to ridiculous proportions? Easy – that’s why they chew & gnaw so much. This action files them down to keep them in check!
3. Highly Sociable
Not many people realise that Guinea pigs are actually highly sociable animals. They really do like to be with their own kind and seek companionship over solitude. Even human companionship and affection is known to keep them happy, which is why they make such great pets to have around the home.
Male Cavies are referred to as ‘boars’ and females are known as ‘sows’ – probably in-keeping with the Pig association! However, baby Guinea Pigs are called pups (very cute indeed). In fact, sows have a gestation period of around 60-70 days and usually give birth to 3 or 4 pups per litter on average. Pups can eat solid food from the moment they are born!
Another interesting fact is that pups are weaned after just 3 weeks and are fully mature in just a couple of months. This is especially interesting as they are also the longest living rodent amongst the small rodents that inhabit the earth.
5. Rabbit Companions
This one can come as quite the surprise, as many people often keep a guinea pig and a rabbit together – however, Guinea Pigs don’t really get on all that well with Rabbits! In fact, Rabbits tend to bully the smaller Guinea Pig which can seriously affect their happiness and overall health. Plus, rabbits can carry diseases which are very harmful to Guinea Pigs.
6. Short Sleep!
Another cool aspect of Guinea Pig behaviour is that they do not sleep for very long in any one period of sleep cycle. Unlike cats who sleep for most of the time, Guinea Pigs are actually awake for most of the day – up to 20 hours! Another important reason they need constant access to food, water and entertainment to keep them occupied. Check out our range of guinea pig hutches and runs which will keep your Guinea Pig as fit and as happy as can be!
7. Chit Chat
It is commonly believed that Guinea Pigs actually like to talk to each other! When you hear those little squeaks and the ‘wheek wheek’ call, they’re actually quite excited and chatting away! If you hear a low purring sound, it is contentment. It is also believed that the short ‘putt putt’ type sounds they make are made when they are exploring and moving around.
8. Guinea Pigs Can Break Dance?
Well, not quite in the same vein as human’s can – but Guinea Pigs are well known for being able to jump up and down on the spot unlike other rodents of their kind. They can also spin up to 90 degrees in the air during the jump. Very clever eh? This move is known as ‘pop corning’.
9. Hay, More Hay & Even More Hay Please!
We all know guinea pigs love to eat hay and is a staple purchase for anyone with these little ones as pets, but it’s true that Guinea Pigs really love the stuff -and LOTS of it! It helps their digestive systems to function properly & also helps keep their teeth the right length by gnawing on it.
10. They Live Longer Than You Probably Think
A lot of small rodents only tend to live for a few years, but Guinea Pigs are the longest living of them all by quite some way and it’s quite surprising! Guinea Pigs are known to live for several years on average with some living longer than 10. In fact, the Guinness world record for the longest recorded living Guinea Pig was nearly 15 years!