Guinea pigs are ravenous creatures.
They always seem to be hungry and on the look out for food.
For example, our piggies no exactly what the sound of a fridge door opening sounds like and know what lies behind it that is so attractive to them.
This is why its good to have hay and water available for them to chew on and feed them regularly.
So once they are eating how to they go about putting it through their system?
How do guinea pigs digest food?
Guinea pigs digest food much differently to what we do as humans.
Like other rodents and herbivores they tend to experience problems digesting food.
Eating in the wild
Feeding can be very dangerous time for guinea pigs in the wild because they are usually exposed, in the open and are potentially vulnerable to predators.
This is because the cell walls of plants contain cellulose and not mammal has evolved the ability to digest this constituent by means of its own enzymes.
Instead, mammals are forced to rely on helpful microbes located within their digestive tract, which possess cellulases for this purpose.
Unfortunately, these bacteria and protozoa are which is beyond the point at which food stuffs can be absorbed into the body. The practice of refection, therefore has evolved.
So how do they digest food?
Foodstuffs pass through the stomach and small intestine as far as the caecum where the bacteria break down the cellulose.
Then soft faecal pellets are then passed out of the anus.
Once these faecal pellets are out in the open, they are consumed again by the guinea pig
The pre-digested cellulose, in the form of its carbohydrate constituents, is then absorbed into the body through the walls of the small intestine.
The water content is then absorbed in the large intestine and the rodent then passes, hard, faecal pellets.
Foodstuffs which do not contain cellulose can be absorbed without passing through the intestinal tract a second time.
So as you can see, the way that guinea pigs digest food is very different to us humans.
They are obviously not put off by the thought of eating their own poop!