Fun Facts About Guinea Pigs

Fun Facts About Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are cute, funny, and pretty interesting too. These chatty critters make good pets and can live long lives if cared for well. If you want to know more about guinea pigs, have a look at some of these fun facts about the squeaky little rodents.  

Guinea Pigs Are South American

Guinea pigs originate from the Andes in South America. It's not exactly clear why they're called "guinea" pigs if they're not from Guinea, but it's possible that they were brought to Europe via Africa by the Spanish in the 1500s. Guinea could also be a mutation of Guiana, which is part of South America.

They're Not Related to Pigs

Not only are guinea pigs not from Guinea, but they're not even pigs. So, their whole name is essentially a lie. Guinea pigs are rodents, although the males and females are referred to as boars and sows, just like pigs are.

Guinea Pigs Are Herd Animals

While you can technically have just one guinea pig, they're social animals that do well together. In fact, in some countries (such as Switzerland), you have to own at least two guinea pigs to make sure that they each have a companion. When you own several guinea pigs, you'll hear them chatting to each other as they communicate.

Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Don't Get Along

It's possible to own both rabbits and guinea pigs at the same time, but they shouldn't be kept together. People often think that they get along, but they're very different animals with different needs. On top of this, rabbits will even bully and push around guinea pigs.

Guinea Pigs Like Things to Smell Like Home

Like some other animals, guinea pigs like to scent mark their surroundings so that things smell familiar. They rub their chin or cheeks across things to leave their scent and mark their home. When you change your guinea pig's bedding, make sure you put some of the old bedding back in so that it still smells familiar.

They Don't Sleep Much

Guinea pigs are crepuscular, which means that they're most active at dawn and dusk. But over the whole day, they're awake for around 20 hours and don't sleep much. They need to have food and water at all times, as well as an enriching environment to keep them busy when they're awake, even when you're not.

They Like to Jump

When guinea pigs get excited, they can jump straight up in the air and often turn 90 degrees before landing on their feet. This cute and funny move is called popcorning.

Guinea Pigs Have Mismatched Toes

Guinea pigs have a different number of toes on their front and back feet. They have four toes on each of their front feet but only three toes on their back feet. This means that they're good at digging and tunnelling, but not so good at climbing, especially because they're so close to the ground.

Guinea pigs are fascinating creatures, and there's lots you can learn about them. If you want to adopt a guinea pig, you should learn about their behaviour and needs.

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