10 Basic Facts to Introduce You to Guinea Pigs

Everyone loves Guinea Pigs right?

What’s not to love about them. They’re cuddly, sweet, make little mess, don’t require a huge amount of attention. They make great pets!

If you’re new to Guinea pigs then I thought it would be good to give some introductory facts so you can get some background into them.

So here are 10 interesting facts about guinea pigs to get you started in an understanding of them.

1. Guinea pigs are very vocal and social animals. Indeed they use sounds as a way of marking their social rank within their herd.

2. They come from South America and are well known for being great pets the world over.

3. Another name for the Guinea Pig is the ‘Domestic Cavy,’ which is pronounced ‘cay-vee’. This is why they are often known as cavies.

Why they came to be called “pigs” is not certain. They are built a bit like pigs, however other similarities include;

– they have large heads relative to their bodies
– they have stout necks
– they have rounded rumps
– they have no tail of any consequence
– they have sounds that they emit that are very similar to those made by pigs
– they spend a large amount of time eating

4. Guinea pigs are small rodents that belong to the Caviidae family in the mammalian order Rodentia. This means that they come from the same order as mice, rats, hamsters, and rabbits.

They are closely linked to the Cavia Cutleri otherwise known as the Restless Cay, that is still found in South America to this day.

5. They are quite large for rodents, and weigh between 700 and 1200 g which is approximately 1.5 to 2.5 pounds. They also tend to measure between 20 and 25 cm which is about 8 to 10 inches in length.

6. Guinea pigs will live between four to five years, but have been known to live as long as eight years.

7. Their natural habitat is long grass that they can build tunnels so that they can go from one area to another. They can also use tunnels made by other animals. However they are mainly found on the surface.

8. Guinea pigs are shy animals that are easily scared. They tend to solve problems using motions and are able to jump small obstacles very easily, however they are poor climbers and are not particularly agile.

9. Baby cavies are born out in the open and are born with their eyes open, with all their fur and teeth. They can also move very quickly from birth and start eating solid food straight away.

This makes them the most advanced of all rodent babies.

10. If they are bred in a domestic environment, male guinea pigs need to be taken away from their mother as they will attempt to mate with her after a month.

Females can be left with their mother throughout the duration of their lives.

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