[Interesting Facts about Guinea Pigs | FactRetriever.com (2024)

  • Guinea Pigs are not pigs but, rather, rodents. They are also not from Guinea; they originated in the Andes.[13]
  • The guinea pig was domesticated as early as 5000 B.C. in South America as a source of food. They were also used in religious ceremonies and in traditional medicine.[3]
  • When a possum attacked her pet guinea pig, 13-year-old Jemma Woldhuis decided to create her own computer program to protect her beloved pet. She coded a computer program that opened her guinea pig’s door during the day and closed the door at night when the possums were out.[4]
  • Historically, guinea pigs have played a large role in the medicine in South America. Even in the Andes today (where Western medicine is either unavailable or distrusted), the guinea pig is believed to cure a number of illness, including arthritis and jaundice. Treatments include rubbing the guinea pig on the affected areas.[2]
  • Guinea pigs are not related to pigs, but may have been called pigs for several reasons. For example, they have a similar squeal to a pig’s. They are also somewhat built like a small pig, with a large head, stout neck, and no real tail.[11]
  • [Interesting Facts about Guinea Pigs | FactRetriever.com (1)

    Guinea pigs are not from Guinea

  • While guinea pigs are not from Guinea, it is possible “guinea” was included in their name because they may have been sold for a guinea (a type of English coin). Another theory is that Europeans may have believed guinea pigs came from the African country Guinea since ships carrying the furry mammals from South America often stopped there before going on to Europe.[11]
  • Male guinea pigs are called boars, females are referred to as sows, and young ones are called pups.[13]
  • Guinea pigs can hear sounds of up to 40,000 to 50,000 Hz, and some guinea pig vocalizations are ultrasonic at above 20,000 Hz.[2]
  • If a female guinea pig is uninterested in a male during courtship, she will sometimes squirt a jet of urine at the persistent male.[13]
  • If a female guinea pig does not give birth before she is 6 months old, her pubic bones will fuse. If she tries to give birth after this, the fused bones will prevent her from giving birth, which results in the death of the mother and the unborn pups.[2]
  • Baby guinea pigs are born ready for the world. They are born with their eyes open and are covered in fur. Baby pups are able to drink from a water bottle and can eat hay within hours of being born.[2]
  • Guinea pigs are very social animals and are truly happy only when they are together with other guinea pigs. Even the most loving human cannot take the place of other guinea pigs.[2]
  • [Interesting Facts about Guinea Pigs | FactRetriever.com (2)

    A human can't take the place of a guinea pig companion

  • The scientific name of the guinea pig is Cavia porcellus, which means “little pig.” They belong to the family Caviidae, which is a family of South American rodents. Their nickname is “cavies,” which may be derived from their scientific name Cavia or from their South American name, cuy.[2]
  • Historically, black guinea pigs were considered especially important in folk medicine for treating illnesses.[3]
  • From the 17th century, biological experimentations have been carried out on guinea pigs, which has resulted in the nickname “guinea pig” for a test subject. While rats and mice have become more popular test animals in the modern era, guinea pigs are still used as subjects for juvenile diabetes, tuberculosis, scurvy, and pregnancy complications.[2]
  • Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603) owned a guinea pig and helped launch the popularity of the furry rodent as a pet.[2]
  • [Interesting Facts about Guinea Pigs | FactRetriever.com (3)

    The term 'guinea pig' for a human experimental subject originates in the extensive use of guinea pigs in scientific experiements

  • Guinea pigs have a long and detailed history of being used in medical research, mainly because they share an evolutionary quirk with humans: an inability to manufacture vitamin C.[3]
  • Guinea pigs typically live about 4 or 5 years, though they may live up to 8. The longest-living guinea pig on record was Snowball from Nottingshire, England. She died at the age of 14 years and 10.5 months in February 1979.[2]
  • A guinea pig named Truffles from the UK entered the Guinness World Record for completing the longest jump by a guinea pig when he cleared a gap of 48 cm (18.89 inches) in April 2012.[12]
  • There are two general categories of guinea pigs: long haired and short haired. Short-haired guinea pigs are typically easier to care for than long-haired ones.[3]
  • The Abyssinian guinea pig is one of the oldest breeds of guinea pigs and is most often used in shows. This type of guinea pigs is typically a high-maintenance pet. Notably, they have distinctive rosettes, or swirls, in their hair.[13]
  • The American guinea pig is one of the oldest breeds of guinea pigs and is considered the “classic guinea pig.” One of the most commonly found, it is an ideal pet for children because of their short, smooth fur.[13]
  • [Interesting Facts about Guinea Pigs | FactRetriever.com (4)

    Guinea pigs have 20 teeth

  • Guinea pigs have what is known as “open rooted” teeth, which means their teeth constantly grow. They need unlimited access to food to help grind down their teeth to and to keep them properly aligned.[13]
  • Guinea pigs excrete two kinds of feces: normal and cecotropes. Cecotropes, or cecals, are actually rare to see because guinea pigs eat them directly from their cecum, in a process known as coprophagy (Greek: copros, “feces” + phagen, “to eat”).[2]
  • Guinea pigs typically run a higher temperature than humans, at about 101° F. Their high temperature places them at increased risk on hot days or when they’re exposed to direct sunlight.[13]
  • A guinea pig named Flash became the “World’s Fastest Guinea Pig” when he ran 32.8 feet in 8.81 seconds on July 27, 2009, in the UK.[14]
  • After about 4 years old, guinea pigs are usually considered senior citizens, and genetic health issues usually appear at this time.[5]
  • Because guinea pigs are easier to raise and breed than chickens, they are the meal of choice during key holidays in parts of Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. However, these guinea pigs feasts have led to an unintended consequence, namely a life-threatening Chagas disease plague. The feasts “bottleneck” the insects responsible for plague, which makes it more likely that remaining guinea pigs will have the virus.[16]
  • [Interesting Facts about Guinea Pigs | FactRetriever.com (5)

    Want ketchup with that?

  • Guinea pig Puckel Martin holds the record for the highest jump performed by a guinea pig after he jumped 7.8 inches on March 16, 2003, in Sweden.[14]
  • Before the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Maverick Arts Publishing created a calendar titled “Guinea Pig Games—Going for Gold.” It shows guinea pigs humorously competing in Olympic events, such as swimming and track and field.[10]
  • An online store based in Japan called Guinea Pig Fashion sells guinea clothes, including wedding dresses, tank tops, hats, and hair extensions.[9]
  • A woman in Kent, England, asked the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to remove 96 of her pet guinea pigs. Four years previously, she had just 2 guinea pigs, but she let things go unchecked until she ended up with 100 furry little pets.[6]
  • [Interesting Facts about Guinea Pigs | FactRetriever.com (6)

    The guinea pig is able to breed year-round

  • A female guinea pig’s hymen disappears and regrows at various points of her reproductive cycle. Specifically, the vagin*l membrane is closed except during estrus (heat) and at parturition (birth).[13]
  • In 2015, an alarmed New York City resident called 911 to investigate a man they believed was mistreating a squirrel over a barbeque pit. It turned out that he was just barbecuing a guinea pig. The unidentified man was from Ecuador, where eating guinea pigs is the norm. The police left the man to his lunch.[1]
  • A recent study found that children ages 5–12 on the autism spectrum showed a marked decrease in stress while interacting with guinea pigs. Researchers noted that the pet could act as a “social buffer” for students with autism who may have difficulty making friends.[8]
  • An ancestor of the guinea pig, the Josephoartigasia monesi, stood about 5 feet high, weighed 1 ton, and had the bite force the same as a tiger. It is estimated to have been about 10 feet long.[15]
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    A group of guinea pigs is called a "muddle"

  • A guinea pig named Randy either was placed in the wrong pen by a visitor or escaped into a female guinea pig enclosure. In a matter of weeks, he had impregnated all 100 females in that pen. The staff was unaware of his antics until the females became pregnant and Randy had started looking thinner.[7]
  • Even though some stores may sell guinea pig leashes, these small animals have very delicate spines and bone structure, which cannot tolerate stress generated by leases harnesses.[2]
  • Guinea pigs always march in single file, with the largest guinea pig at the front and the young protected in the middle.[2]
  • Guinea pigs are allergic to penicillin.[2]

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[Interesting Facts about Guinea Pigs | FactRetriever.com (2024)


What are some facts about guinea pigs? ›

Guinea pigs are very sociable - they're social butterflies! In the wild guinea pigs live in groups of between five and ten and so keeping guinea pigs in pairs or small groups is ideal. Good combinations include single-sex pairs or a combination of neutered male with one or more females.

What makes guinea pigs unique? ›

Known for their gentle nature, guinea pigs are often very social animals with a lot of character. As owners of guinea pigs like to point out, they also have an interesting way of communicating with squeaks and chirping noises meant to convey emotion.

What cool things can guinea pigs do? ›

Activities Guinea Pigs Can Do
  • Burrowing. Burrowing comes naturally to guinea pigs. ...
  • Tunnels. In keeping with their natural desire to burrow, tunnels provide endless fun for guinea pigs. ...
  • Tug-of-War. Guinea pigs love to play with one another and will be more playful in a cage where they have adequate space. ...
  • Play Ball.

Do guinea pigs cuddle? ›

There is no denying, guinea pigs are cuddly pets that love lap time with their humans. But like all good things, it takes time as well as patience. But, and you can trust us on this, your persistence will definitely pay off in the end.

What are guinea pigs scared of? ›

Fears of toys, people, and loud noises are the most common fears. There are many reasons why a guinea pig may develop fears of people. For example, a bad experience with a small child could result in a guinea pig that is fearful of all small children.

What do guinea pigs not like? ›

Guinea Pigs Need Time to Get to Know You

Some of them never like to be picked up or held by humans and always prefer “hands-off” guardianship, although this largely depends on their personality.

What keeps guinea pigs happy? ›

Exercise - guinea pigs are active animals during the day and night, and need to be able to exercise each day to stay fit and healthy. Tunnels - guinea pigs like to tunnel, so make sure they have suitable materials that allow tunnelling behaviour, such as pipes and deep areas of hay. Safe toys - to play with and chew.

What guinea pigs love the most? ›

Top 5 things guinea pigs love
  • Exploring and hiding. Guinea pigs are very inquisitive. ...
  • Chewing, and especially something tasty. The teeth of guinea pigs grow throughout their lives. ...
  • Communication. Guinea pigs are very social. ...
  • A little sunshine. Sunlight is important to a guinea pig's health. ...
  • Cleanliness.

Is getting 1 guinea pig OK? ›

To summarise, a guinea pig can live alone, but ideally shouldn't. This is because they are social animals that want and need the companionship of other guinea pigs. A piggy on its own requires a lot of care and interaction, which is why experts recommend keeping at least two guinea pigs together.

Do I need 1 or 2 guinea pigs? ›

(Keep in mind that guinea pigs are highly social, so it is best to have at least two guinea pigs who get along with each other.) Two guinea pigs: 7.5 square feet (minimum), but at least 10.5 square feet (30” x 50”) is preferred.

Are guinea pigs smart? ›

Yes! Guinea Pigs are highly sensitive and perceptive animals. Guinea pigs can learn their own name, learn tricks and display high emotional intelligence and empathy. With guinea pigs having higher intelligence, it is important to encourage variety in their everyday lives and to prevent boredom.

What calms a guinea pig? ›

Reducing Stress in Your Guinea Pigs' Environment

Avoid known stressors. House guinea pigs in a quiet area away from other pets or activity. Limit the number of animals in each enclosure to prevent overcrowding, and don't change their social groups too often. Follow a consistent routine for daily care.

What is a guinea pig's favorite thing to do? ›

One of your guinea pig's favorite things to do is chew! They like to eat and nibble on things to sharpen their teeth. These chew ball treats not only taste delicious and stimulate their senses but are also safe to consume!

What are guinea pigs attracted to? ›

My guinea pigs used to enjoy chewing on wood, salt wheels, and hay toys. Guineas also enjoy running around, exploring their surroundings, and nibbling on anything that looks appealing.

How many days do guinea pigs live? ›

Typically guinea pigs live for 5-6 years, but some may live longer. Guinea pigs are active up to 20 hours per day, and only sleep for short periods. Guinea pigs are highly social - in the wild they live in close family groups of 5-10 guinea pigs, though several groups may live in close proximity to form a colony.

Do guinea pigs hear well? ›

Sensory function. Guinea pigs have sensitive hearing and good vision. The guinea pig has better hearing at higher frequencies, relative to humans. The human hearing range is typically defined as 20–20 000 Hz, whereas the guinea pig hears sounds from 150 to 50 000 Hz.

Are guinea pigs a lot of money? ›

Guinea pigs can cost between $500 and $800 a year to keep. Guinea pigs can be much more expensive than you might have guessed. Although they're small, their food isn't especially cheap, and much like rabbits, they'll need a regular supply of bedding and hay.

Are guinea pigs happy animals? ›

Guinea pigs are also intelligent, inquisitive little creatures and are happy when kept busy and engaged with chews, balls, logs, tunnels, bridges and other interesting toys and playthings. Showing affection is another sign of happiness.

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