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10 Things to Know about Guinea Pigs and How to Care for them

10 Things to Know about Guinea Pigs and How to Care for them

People often just admire guinea pigs for their cuteness. However, there’s so much more to these small furry animals. Did you know that they have a personality and a very strong sense of likes and dislikes in general?

There’s so much to know about guinea pigs, their life span, anatomy, dietary habits, history, and more!

Here are 10 interesting facts about guinea pigs that you should know.

1. They cannot make their own Vitamin C

Unlike mammals, guinea pigs don’t have the ability to create their own vitamin C. Thus they need to get vitamin C through their diets. Lack of Vitamin C can lead to scurvy. Scurvy can result in a lot of problems like swollen joints, issues related to skin and fur, loss of appetite, and more.

2. They Have Over 13 Breeds!

There’s a wide variety of shapes and sizes of guinea pigs. Today, the American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes 13 breeds of guinea pigs. Their original or founding breeds were recognized to be America, Abyssinian, and Peruvian.

3. They Live up to 5-6 Years

Guinea Pig’s life span is affected by their environment, care and genetics. On an average, their typical lifespan is 5-6 years. Some don’t live as long as that but others often exceeds this time frame.

4. They like Being with Others

Guinea pigs are herd animals. They feel more comfortable when they are in a pair or group of the same kind. Their need is so strong that it is often encouraged to keep them in pairs rather than solo. In 2008, Switzerland passed a law declaring them “social species”. According to this, they are considered to be abused if they don’t regularly have the company of their kind around them.

5. They Have White Incisors

Most rodents have yellow incisors but not guinea pigs. Their teeth grow continuously. Thus they must chew high fibers to keep their teeth worn down. The majority of Guinea pig’s diet consists of Hay but adding vegetables, fruits, and pelleted food is also beneficial for their health.

6. They Don’t Have a Full-Color Vision

Guinea pigs are unique. Their eye color ranges from dark colors like black, brown, or blue to even pink or red. Their eyeshade consists of a red-like color. Experts say that guinea pigs have dichromatic vision rather than a full-color one.

7. They eat Their Feces

Yes, you read that right. Guinea pigs do eat some of their own feces. This coprophagy is also necessary for their health. If they don’t do this they might fall ill. Thus it is important that they eat their feces daily.

8. They Need to Give Birth before a Specific Age

If female guinea pigs don’t give birth before 7-8 months of age, they are most likely to face complications during pregnancy. The reason for this is that the pubic bones settle into place after that age which can make the first-birth experience extremely complicated.

9. They Have an Advanced Sound Sensitivity

Studies show that the exact hearing range of guinea pigs is from 54 to 50,000 Hz. The human hearing range is from 64 to 23000 Hz.

10. They are known by Several Different Names

The scientific name for Guinea Pigs is Cavia porcellus. However, they’re called by a number of names in different regions. In South America, they’re called cuy. In North America, Europe, and Australia, they are called guinea pig or cavy. The origin of the name is still debated as they are not from Guinea, Africa.

Guinea pigs are fun, playful, super cute, and make the perfect house pet. Although kids love them, it is often advised to not let them handle them. This is due to the fragility of guinea pigs. One should let children handle them only under adult supervision. They require a little extra care and higher maintenance than other rodent pets. They tend to live for several years with gentle handling and good care.

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